TODAY |

Most watched: 'Um, ah, ah, I haven't, um' - Beleaguered minister Clare Curran offers bumbling explanation for using Gmail for Government business

The beleaguered minister Clare Curran was rattled in Parliament today as she was put on the spot over her use of personal email for Government business.

Ms Curran lost two portfolios and now sits outside Cabinet, having been demoted last month by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following a second failure to properly declare meetings with people connected with her portfolios.

National MP Melissa Lee today pressed Ms Curran with questions and she was forced to admit that she had conducted Government business on her personal Gmail account "from time to time". 

When asked "what Government business has she conducted via her Gmail account", Ms Curran appeared flustered and said she had just answered that question.

When Speaker Trevor Mallard told her she had to answer it directly, Ms Curran had Ms Lee repeat the question.

"To the minister, what Government business has she conducted via her Gmail account?" Ms Lee asked.

Ms Curran responded: "To the best of my recollection, um, ah, ah, I haven't, um, I haven't used my, um I've answered um OIA, ah, ah, OIA responses and personal, um and parliamentary questions correctly and to the best of my recollection, um, ah, you know, that, that has, that's what I've done."

The Prime Minister last month accepted Ms Curran's offer to resign from her Government Digital Services portfolio and Open Government responsibilities.

In February, Ms Curran had met with tech entrepreneur Derek Handley at her Beehive office in her capacity as Minister of Government Digital Services to discuss Mr Handley’s interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer role.

The meeting was not recorded in Ms Curran's diary, neither her staff nor officials were made aware of it and it was later mistakenly left out of an answer to a parliamentary question. 

The failure to disclose the Handley meeting came after Ms Curran held a meeting with Radio NZ’s Carol Hirschfeld in December.

This resulted in Ms Hirschfeld resigning after she initially mislead then-Radio NZ board chair Richard Griffin over the meeting, telling him it was accidental.

That led to Mr Griffin and RNZ CEO Paul Thompson then inadvertently making false statements to a Parliamentary Select Committee over the nature of the meeting - which was in fact pre-planned.


More From