Thirty shades of Curran

Source image The J. Paul Getty Museum. The Vicomtesse de Vaudreuil
Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s alleged actions are a reminder of the Clare Curran debacle. When she was the Minister for Broadcasting Clare Curran failed to be both open and transparent. Her meeting with Broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld led to her resignation as she had failed to officially record the meeting. She also had her feet held to the fire over using her personal e-mail account for government business.

Now it is Phil Twyford who is being accused of not being open and transparent.

[…] Housing Minister Phil Twyford is again under fire, only this time he has been accused of trying to hold secret political meetings with his former boss Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
Twyford failed to disclose the meeting, but was outed by one of own colleagues – Environment Minister David Parker, who also attended the meeting with the former Labour leader.

Twyford met with Goff and Parker on March 2 this year, but he failed to disclose that in his public diary. The missing meeting suddenly appeared in his diary on Wednesday morning.

Twyford defended himself in Parliament on Wednesday. He said there was an “error in the published diary.”

[…] Twyford said he “wasn’t aware there was a discrepancy” and dismissed the idea he only changed his diary on Wednesday because he got caught.

The Housing Minister was asked specifically to hand over any information about the meeting. But he refused the official request […]

That however is not the worst of it.

It was Parker who let slip about the meeting, releasing the emails Twyford’s office refused to release. They show Twyford’s office requesting “a political meeting with no officials”.

Twyford responded to that revelation, telling Newshub: “We’re politicians – it’s not uncommon to have political meetings without officials present – it happens routinely.”

[…] Ministers began proactively releasing details of their diaries this year – a move designed to “build trust and confidence in government.”[
But they’re released with a disclaimer. It says they show “meetings held by the Minister relating to ministerial business”, but ministers do not have to disclose meetings that are “party political”.

Twyford insisted he hadn’t tried to hide the meeting, and said there was “no intent to deceive anyone”.
After promising to be open and transparent Government, Twyford is the latest minister accused of covering up secret meetings.

The National Party’s housing spokesperson, Judith Collins, slammed Twyford in Parliament, describing his undisclosed meeting with Goff as “sneaky”.
It has shades of the Clare Curran debacle. The Prime Minister accepted her resignation as a Minister in September last year after she failed to officially record a meeting she had.
Twyford said he would not be offering his resignation. The Prime Minister echoed that sentiment, telling Newshub she would not expect that of him.
“It was a clerical error, and I actually don’t think people would expect that kind of level of reprimand for something like that.” […]


Jacinda Ardern didn’t ask for Clare Curran to resign even though she should have. Instead, she left Curran swinging in the breeze and it was Curran who decided to fall on her sword. This latest debacle is yet another example of inaction from the prime minister. What is it going to take for her to demote Phil Twyford? Is he going to have to fall on his sword like Curran so that Ardern’s hands can remain clean?