Clare Curran removed from Cabinet
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has removed Clare Curran from Cabinet and accepted her offer to resign her Government
Digital Services portfolio and Open Government responsibilities, following a second failure to properly declare a
Dr Megan Woods will take over as Minister of Government Digital Services and Ms Curran’s delegated responsibilities in
relation to Open Government will revert to Chris Hipkins, as Minister for State Services. 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. This
meeting took place after the first unsuccessful recruitment round for the CTO. As with approaches from other interested
parties, the Minister directed Mr Handley to register his interest with MBIE officials. Applications reopened for the
CTO role in May.
The meeting was not recorded in the Minister’s diary and neither the Minister’s staff nor officials were made aware of
The meeting was subsequently mistakenly left out of an answer to a recent Parliamentary Question for Written Answer. The
meeting should have been included in the answer and the error has been corrected. Ms Curran has advised there have been
no other meetings between herself and Mr Handley outside the application process.
“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.” said Jacinda
“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
“Transparency is important, even more so for Hon Curran given her Open Government responsibilities.
“I have accepted the Minister’s offer to resign her responsibilities relevant to this issue, which clearly she can no
longer continue in. State Services Minister Chris Hipkins will take back the Open Government responsibilities which were
delegated to Hon Curran, and Minister Woods will take over the Government Digital Services portfolio, which aligns with
her Research, Science and Innovation responsibilities.
“The CTO appointment process is in its final stages. Minister Curran will have no further involvement in it and State
Services Minister Hipkins will take over that process and finalise the details of the appointment and the implementation
of the CTO role.
“Minister Hipkins has asked the State Services Commission to take a look at the CTO appointment process to ensure it has
been robust, and that the meeting between Ms Curran and Mr Handley had no bearing on the process or outcome. The SSC
will report back next week before the appointment process is concluded.
“I want to express my sincere apologies to Mr Handley who has been brought into this issue through no fault of his own.
He is a qualified and capable candidate who has made it through to the final stages of the appointment process based on
his talent, experience. The issue is entirely about the Minister’s conduct, not Mr Handley’s.”