Curran removed from Cabinet after second failure to declare

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has removed Clare Curran from Cabinet following a second failure to properly declare a meeting.

In a statement Ardern’s office says she also accepted Curran’s offer to resign her Government Digital Services portfolio and Open Government responsibilities.

Minister Curran will retain her responsibilities as Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, and as Associate Minister for ACC, but will now sit outside Cabinet.

In February this year Minister Curran met with Mr 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 (CTO) role.

The meeting was not recorded in the Minister’s diary and neither the Minister’s staff nor officials were made aware of it.

The meeting was subsequently left out of an answer to a recent Parliamentary Question for Written Answer.

“The failure to record the meeting in her diary; inform her staff and officials; and accurately answer Parliamentary questions has left the Minister open to the accusation that she deliberately sought to hide the meeting.” says Ardern.

“While this was not the Minister’s intention, this is the second misjudgement and is not in keeping with my expectations, or the Minister’s expectations of herself. As a result I have chosen to remove Minister Curran from Cabinet.

Dr Megan Woods will take over as Minister of Government Digital Services and Curran’s delegated responsibilities in relation to Open Government will revert to Chris Hipkins, as Minister for State Services.

“Transparency is important, even more so for Hon Curran given her Open Government responsibilities,” says Ardern.

Curran has advised there have been no other meetings between herself and Mr Handley outside the application process.