UPDATE: Who ratted out Hirschfeld & Curran?

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Radio New Zealand chairman Richard Griffin says Carol Hirschfeld stuck to meeting claim for four months
Radio New Zealand’s chairman Richard Griffin says he uncovered the discrepancies about Carol Hirschfeld’s account of a secret meeting with Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran after a tipoff.

Griffin says a personal source contacted him late last week to tell him that the meeting between Hirschfeld, Radio NZ’s head of content, and Curran was not coincidental and was in fact scheduled in the minister’s diary.

Hirschfeld had initially and repeatedly claimed to Radio NZ bosses that she bumped into Curran at a Wellington cafe by chance.

She assured RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson the December 5 meeting was coincidental, leading Thompson and Griffin to inadvertently provide incorrect information to Parliament.

So the Minister of Broadcasting is busted meeting a senior RNZ staff member on the quiet and the Staffer has had to resign for lying that the meeting was pure coincidence.

After the off the record meeting, Radio NZ announced a new content deal with The Spinoff.

Melissa Lee, one of the least effective National MPs ever is the one who is destroying Curran in Parliament, that’s more concerning than what has been revealed, and what has been revealed is deeply concerning!

You can’t have the Broadcasting Minister secretly meeting RNZ staff before you are looking to pour enormous amounts of cash into them, and if you do, you do it in a way far more clever than this!

What is every other independent media outlet who might be interested in applying for this funding supposed to think? That you have to have secret meetings with the Minister?

Some will say Hirschfeld quitting is unfair but if it had been Judith Collins meeting Richard Griffen in a secret off the record meeting and then RNZ announced a new content sharing deal with Kiwiblog, there would be all hell to pay, but the bigger political issue for Labour is how the hell this leaked out?

Who is the rat inside Labour? Only someone who had access to the Minister’s Diary would know the answers given were false, and that would be someone inside the Government’s staff.

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UPDATE: Hilariously, it turns out that Curran outed herself

Timeline:

• Dec 5: Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran meets with RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld at Astoria Cafe in Wellington and discusses, among other things, the future of RNZ.

• Dec 5: Media commentator John Drinnan blogs about the meeting, saying any discussions about the future of RNZ should be with board chairman Richard Griffin or chief executive Paul Thompson.

• Dec 7: National MP and broadcasting spokeswoman Melissa Lee asks Curran for a list of meetings with RNZ staff since Dec 1. Curran initially answers that she met Thompson, Hirschfeld and other senior RNZ staff on Dec 7.

• Feb 20: Lee uses Question Time to ask Curran about meeting with Hirschfeld. Curran eventually says she did not list the meeting in her written answer because she did not consider it to be an official meeting.

• Feb 21: Curran corrects her answer to Lee’s Dec 7 question, adding her Dec 5 meeting with Hirschfeld.

• March 1: At a select committee Lee questions Thompson and Griffin about the meeting and is told it was a chance encounter.

• March 1: Curran hears about the select committee hearing and her office tells RNZ that the meeting was pre-planned. Thompson asks Hirschfeld about the meeting again, and Hirschfeld reassures him it was a chance encounter.

• March 22: Curran’s office contacts RNZ again to tell them the meeting was pre-planned.

• March 25: Following a tip-off to Griffin, Hirschfeld is asked again and admits the meeting was pre-arranged.

• March 27: Hirschfeld resigns. Curran says it was a mistake to say the meeting was informal and unofficial. Jacinda Ardern says Curran should have corrected her answer to the written question sooner, but has full confidence in the minister.

18 COMMENTS

  1. The word “tipoff” stands out like a sore thumb. It caught my attention right away. No guessing from which direction it came, considering there is a serial leaker of information on the other side!

    Regardless from whom or where the tipoff came, it’s an indication there is an entity hell bent on destroying and bringing down the coalition government!

    After this, Labour, NZF and Greens need to be alert. Mark Mitchell, stirring the pot, already has tried a hit on NZF MP Jenny Marcroft. Now this.

    Funny though how this issue makes headline news, when it seems the previous Natz Attorney General has been found to have broken the law re Kim Dotcom, something which is receiving very little attention in msm! Selected reporting and publishing obviously!

    • I heard Mitchell on Morning Report sobbing and whinging this morning. That man is pathetic, I wonder how he ever managed to serve in the armed forces and police.

  2. You have said it before, Martyn, This Government needs to clear all the closet Neo-liberals out of the Public Service starting at the top.

    • Yeah well they didn’t and now we all get to witness the downfall of yet another Labour Government. And without any help from the Greens…

      Tossers!

    • Yes -personally I’d make all senior Public Servants earning more that $100k reapply for restructured positions (with reduced salaries) much like most of those lot did with those below. Also link top salaries to bottom salaries & you’ll find the service comes back to the public service.

  3. I don’t care who is leaking the information as they are doing us a public service. While the last thing I want is National back on the treasury benches we were promised a transparent government and its good to know that someone out there is providing it. Frankly I never liked that neoliberal zionist shill Carol Hirschfeld so good riddance to her. Hopefully the RNZ deal with The Spinoff will fall through as the last we need from our tax payer funded news service is more corporate spin.

    • Carol Hirshfeld a neoliberal zionist shill? Is that a different Carol Hirshfeld to the one who produced Campbell Live for 4 years?

    • You have to expect obscure reporting rules to questions for oral answers in parliament to be breached by new MPs like Clair. The issue is that Clair Curran was not aware that she had to declare every meeting. To be honest her office should have known better than to write answers to oral questions incorrectly. That David Farrar has seized on this operational transgression is not in of its self dirty politics mk2. Every indication is that this is an honest mistake. you can’t have ministers resign because of David Farrars petty quibbles. That’s so dangerous. It’s would leave the door open to even more resignations.

      I honestly don’t get why some self professed lefties don’t like Clair Curren. Namely Matthew Whitehead. Maybe some one could inform what operational transgression Clair Curren has committed that would warrant such vitriol. Then I might change my might about all this. But as far as I know it’s just a bit of bullshit.

      • Probably just a matter of competence, eg her handling of the current event.
        Melissa Lee runs rings around her each time she asks uestion. If Ms Lee can do that, anyone can.

      • Don’t be a jerk. Most journos and there fore reaction bloggers are hyper critical of Labour. The restoration of pre John Key funding models and destruction of the great deficits will continue as planned. Meh.

  4. Have the Greens given Nactional any help on this?… re extra questions?…( surely not any other help?)

  5. Well whoever tipped them off is basically a “whistleblower”, and I think there should be a lot more of that, regardless of political colour. “Keeping them honest” should never be criticised imo.

  6. Carol Hirschfield and Claire Curran are obviously blind and not street smart, not understanding how the National Party now works, and how they have Intelligence Networks throughout NZ Society ?

    The National Party Natzis operate very similar to the East German Stasi where by they have informants in every nook and cranny in the country, even your own family and friends could be spying for the Natzis ? Griffen is a National Party plant, obviously Curran and Hirschfield did not realise ? The Natzis are closely aligned to Peter Thiel and Palantir & the 5 Eyes Network – does that ring any bells ?

    Curran thought the Meeting was an Official Meeting hence put it in her parliamentary diary, Hirschfield thought it was a Secret Meeting in a Public Place and she tried to disguise it as a chance meeting after going to the gym. Richard Griffen would have known about the meeting within hours hence Hirschfield was not particularly smart not disclosing the meeting to Griffen and Thompson. (Big Mistake)

    Griffen and the Natzis have tried to create a political hit on Labour and Hirschfield and have succeeded. Put it down to naivety of both Curran & Hirschfield. Likewise Jenny Marcroft bullying the ex Policeman and Middle Eastern Mercenary Mark Mitchell, it appears Jenny was sucked into the Honey Trap and put her foot in her mouth ?

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