Jacinda is heartless

Photoshopped image credit: Boondecker

So Clare Curran has resigned. After her performance in the house on Wednesday, this is hardly a surprise, and in some ways it is a relief. It was almost possible to feel sorry for her as she stammered her way through the answer to Melissa Lee’s questions. It was clear that the pressure was really getting to her.

Jacinda, however, had prolonged Curran’s misery, and if she were even a half decent leader she would have handled things differently.

First of all, a minister under enormous pressure like that finds it impossible to do a decent job. Think of Judith Collins when the opposition was mercilessly haranguing her over Oravida, even though that was mostly nothing more than conjecture. John Key gave her a leave of absence, to escape from the baying wolves. If someone as strong as Judith Collins feels the pressure of an opposition that has sniffed blood, Clare Curran had no chance.

The kind thing to do would have been to remove all of Curran’s ministerial portfolios once the details of the meeting with Derek Handley went public. Having been caught out twice for the same misdemeanour, Curran clearly couldn’t be trusted to be an ‘open and transparent’ minister and should have been properly demoted then.

It may have seemed kind for Jacinda to keep Curran on as she did, but in fact it was cruel. Jacinda showed weakness in not doing the job properly, leaving Curran to continue to face the baying dogs in the house, notably the very tenacious Melissa Lee.

(I’m as surprised as anyone over Melissa Lee’s success in bringing down Clare Curran. Fantastic job!)

Jacinda needs to learn that being prime minister is a tough job and requires someone who can do the difficult tasks – like sacking a minister who is also a personal friend. Curran deserved it for her lack of transparency. Instead, weakened by the public shaming and consequent demotion, Clare Curran was clearly struggling to string a sentence together last week.

Even Judith Collins, interviewed on The AM Show on Friday, expressed sympathy for Curran, stating that she believed Curran would not be in her job for much longer, as the environment in the house had become too toxic for her. How right she was.

Jacinda has demonstrated very poor judgement in her dealings with Clare Curran, and full credit to Curran for making the decision to stand down.

Once again, Jacinda has discovered that her fairy dust only goes so far. Her first minister has fallen. It won’t be the last.