Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A coverup unravels

Back in February, Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran embarrassed herself in Question Time trying to pretend that she hadn't been trying to hide a meeting with RNZ's head of news, Carol Hirschfeld. First, the meeting never happened. Then it was "informal". RNZ executives obediently trotted out the same line in front of a select committee, saying that the two had just bumped into one another at a cafe and had a few words over breakfast - entirely natural, nothing suspicious. But it turns out that that was a lie, and it has now cost Hirschfeld her job:

Radio NZ senior manager Carol Hirschfeld has resigned over a meeting she had with broadcasting minister Clare Curran.

Hirschfeld met with Curran on December 5 last year. The meeting was pre-arranged, and was in Curran's ministerial diary.

However, RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said Hirschfeld had repeatedly assured him the meeting was coincidental, and that she and Curran had talked after bumping into each other in a Wellington cafe.

On Sunday, Hirschfeld told Thompson the meeting had in fact been pre-arranged.

On Tuesday, Thompson said he had accepted Hirschfeld's resignation, effective immediately.

Which is fair enough - causing your bosses to mislead Parliament is definitely a firing offence. But pretty obviously, Hirschfeld isn't the only one who should be losing her job over this. From the start, we've had nothing but lies from Curran. Under Helen Clark, deliberately misleading the public was a sacking offence. Will Jacinda Ardern hold her Ministers to the same standard?