The mystery over Derek Handley’s appointment as the government’s Chief Technology Officer, and then its abrupt revocation, has deepened.
Handley’s own revelation of his email exchanges with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown at best she was “economical with the truth” (as commentators like Bryce Edwards put it) in her answers to Parliament. Did she just have a lapse of memory (something which seems to afflict Winston Peters more frequently these days), about those emails?
Then there is the plainly shabby treatment of Handley over the revocation of the Cabinet decision to put him in the job, for which he returned with his family from New York. Clare Curran was wrapped up in her own misery over the appointment and her successor, Megan Woods, got around to apologising to Handley only after he had published his side of the story in the New Zealand Herald. The newspaper front-paged it with lines like
” … the [Handley] family arrived back in the country days before finding out his contract was scrapped.” Continue reading “Fallout from the CTO fiasco spreads from Clare Curran to – oh, look! – the PM” →
The government had little option but to kill off the process of appointing a Chief Technology Officer. It had not only blown away the political career of Clare Curran but has severely damaged the credibility of the government, not least the prime minister’s.
For National it has been a gift which keeps on giving. There’s almost certain to be some more unpleasant revelations to come from the emails between Curran and the PM’s “friend”, Derek Handley. Though they may take some time to emerge into daylight, these will prolong what is a disgraceful saga, one which has few parallels in the history of state-sector appointments.
Megan Woods drew the short straw to make the latest announcement on the debacle, which of course was made on Friday, just before the weekend. This continues the not-so-subtle technique being played out in recent weeks as the government tries to minimise in terms of publicity the damage it has been doing to itself. Continue reading “CTO appointment process ends with a payout and a review of the need for such a post” →
The government is sinking deeper into the hole left behind by Clare Curran over the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer.
Questioned in Parliament, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins sounded far from confident when he stuttered about issues of “natural justice”.
He was floundering not just because of the secret emails Curran had sent Derek Handley, whom she favoured – it seems – as the CTO, but because it turns out Handley is a friend of PM Jacinda Ardern.
Not surprisingly, National thinks the whole process has been “tainted”. Continue reading “How the Govt’s IT girl and her email secrets left Chris Hipkins floundering” →
The Curran affair has ended with the Dunedin South MP confessing she could not stand the “intolerable pressure” she had been placed under. Voters may not care much about either her departure from the Ardern ministry, nor the causes which lay behind it.
But her resignation has altered the dynamics within the current government. Some of the gloss has washed off the coalition and – more particularly – has washed off PM Jacinda Ardern (although she can claim the choice of Clare Curran as a minister was made by the Labour caucus, not by herself).
There may be a degree of sympathy for Curran who – some say – had good instincts for the issues within her portfolios. But then there’s the old saying, if you can’t stand the heat…. Continue reading “More fallout from the Curran affair could follow inspection of her G-mail account” →
Why would a PM want to retain as a minister someone who has committed a cardinal mistake not once but twice? It’s a question with no immediately transparent answers.
Losing a seat in Cabinet and some portfolios may seem a severe setback, if not a mortal blow, to a political career — but if you keep the two portfolios you really covet it’s not too much of a hardship.
The financial penalty isn’t too severe either – a Cabinet minister’s annual salary is $296,007. This drops to $249,839 for ministers outside cabinet. Continue reading “Among the questions about Curran – can she make a Cabinet comeback?” →