Curtains for Clare Curran as she fails to show and goes on gardening leave

Clare “Curtains” Curran is done. She won’t recover after the debacle in parliament in Wednesday was followed by a no show and “personal” leave. Quote:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is making sure ministers know her expectations around the use of personal email accounts being used for Government business, after Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran was caught out by the practice.

Curran is on personal leave today after a fumbling performance in Parliament yesterday while being questioned on her use of a Gmail account for Government business.

She admitted that “from time to time, I have used my Gmail account. When using it, I adhere to my obligations as a minister.”

There is nothing in the Cabinet Manual, the rulebook for ministers, about the use of alternative email accounts.

But Minister of Ministerial Services Chris Hipkins said today that Ardern had asked the Cabinet Office to issue guidance on the use of alternative email accounts by ministers to clarify the issue.

That is expected to happen this week.

“There is nothing specifically in the Cabinet Manual about use of alternate email accounts. However, ministers, in the vast majority of cases, use the parliamentary email for ministerial/government business,” Hipkins said.

“There are very practical reasons why ministers sometimes use Gmail ? It is good practice on these occasions to CC any Government business emails to their parliamentary emails. It is important to note also that Gmail use is subject to relevant transparency legislation: OIA, Public Records Act,” Hipkins said in a statement.

Curran was demoted from Cabinet after it was revealed she had held a meeting with entrepreneur Derek Handley that was not diaried and no staff were aware of it.

It emerged that the meeting, to discuss the Government’s chief technology role, was arranged via her Gmail account. End quote.

There is plenty more to come on the Gmail account as Curran has given different answers over access to the account over the past week.

Ardern also packed a sickie as her prime ministership comes under increasing pressure for its lack of substance. Ardern will now be wishing she’d followed Winston’s advice over Curran, which was to sack her completely. Had she done that then Wednesday would never have happened and likely this story would now be dead. Curran can’t hide for ever and now National can heap the pressure on Ardern for keeping her on. On Tuesday this week Ardern was telling parliament that she still had confidence in all her ministers. That will hurt her immensely in coming days.

Meanwhile National can’t quite believe that their first scalp has been taken by Melissa Lee, who has transitioned to opposition superbly and has shown other MPs how to effective destroy the career of a minister.