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Premier Jacinda Ardern removed Clare Curran from the cabinet and accepted her offer to resign from the portfolio of Government Digital Services and Open Government responsibilities, after a second failure to properly declare a meeting.

In February of this year, Mrs. Curran met technical entrepreneur Handley at her Bijenkorf office in her capacity as minister of digital government services to discuss Handley's interest in the vacant role of Chief Technology Officer.

The meeting took place after the first unsuccessful recruitment round for the CTO. As with other interested parties, the Minister asked Mr Handley to register his interest in MBIE officials. Reopened applications for the role of CTO in May.

The meeting was not recorded in the minister's diary and neither the staff of the minister nor officials were informed of it.

The meeting was then wrongly omitted from an answer to a recent parliamentary question for written answers. The meeting should have been included in the answer and the mistake has been corrected. Mrs Curran advised that no other meetings had taken place between her and Mr Handley outside the application process.

"The non-inclusion of the meeting in her diary, informing her staff and civil servants and the accurate answering of parliamentary questions, the minister left open for the accusation that she deliberately tried to hide the meeting," Ardern said.

"Although this was not the intention of the minister, this is the second miscalculation and is not in line with my expectations, or with the minister's expectations regarding himself, so I chose to remove Minister Curran from the cabinet.

"Transparency is important, especially for Hon Curran because of its responsibilities in the field of Open Government."

A composite image of Jacinda Ardern and Clare Curran.

A composite image of Jacinda Ardern and Clare Curran.
Source: 1 NEWS


Minister Curran will retain her responsibilities as minister of broadcasting, communication and digital media and as associate minister for ACC, but will now remain outside the cabinet.

Ms. Ardern says that Dr. Megan Woods will take over the position of minister of digital government services and that Ms. Curran's delegated responsibilities with regard to Open Government will return to Chris Hipkins, as minister of state services.

"I have agreed to the minister's offer to revoke her responsibilities with regard to this issue, which she clearly can no longer sustain." State Services Minister Chris Hipkins takes back the Open Government responsibilities delegated to Hon Curran, and Minister Woods takes over the portfolio of Government Digital Services, which is in line with its responsibilities in the areas of research, science and innovation.

"The CTO nomination process is in the final phase, Minister Curran will not be involved and Minister of State Services Hipkins will take over that process and complete the details of the appointment and implementation of the CTO role.

"Minister Hipkins has asked the State Services Committee to review the appointment process of the CTO to ensure that it is robust and that the meeting between Ms. Curran and Mr. Handley did not affect the trial or outcome, a week before the nomination process was completed. . "

"I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Mr Handley, who is involved in this matter through no fault of his own, he is a qualified and capable candidate who has reached the final stages of the nomination process on the basis of his talent. The issue is entirely about the behavior of the minister, not that of Mr. Handley. & # 39;

I lowered myself and the prime minister and my resignation today is the result of my mistakeClare Curran

Ms. Curran says she has disappointed herself and the prime minister and her resignation today from the Open Government and Government Digital Services portfolios "are the result of my mistake".

"I failed to include a meeting with Derek Handley in an answer to a written parliamentary question.

"It was not in my diary because it was drawn up directly between Mr. Handley, then a candidate for the position of Chief Technology Officer, and I just forgot when the parliamentary response was sent," Curran said in a statement.

"I take full responsibility for not following a good process, the meeting with Mr. Handley should have been in the diary and my staff should have been informed."

Mrs Curran said that she "will do everything to make our government more open and to ensure that creatives and innovators in digital services have a voice at the table, I am proud of the work I have undertaken".

She said that she will continue to work hard to promote the government's broadcast and communication agenda.

Mrs Curran arranged the meeting with Mr Handley with direct Twitter messages, her personal Gmail account and text messages on her mobile phone.

Her plunder today comes after Ms. Ardern was forced to defend Ms. Curran in December during a meeting with Carol NZ's Carol Hirschfeld, which resulted in Hirschfeld's resignation after she initially misled – Radio NZ Executive Board Richard Griffin told him that it happened.

This led Griffin and RNZ CEO Paul Thompson to unintentionally make false statements to a parliamentary limited committee about the nature of the meeting – which was actually planned in advance.


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