What was in the text messages between Curran and Hirschfeld?

Clare Curran has developed the kind of stench around her that week-old dead goats have on farms:

Texts between the communications minister Clare Curran and former RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld may have triggered Hirschfeld’s resignation.

Stuff has been told by an RNZ source that Curran and Hirschfeld communicated by text over a period of several days ahead of their meeting at Wellington’s Cafe Astoria in December of last year – a meeting that has now seen Hirschfeld resign and Curran come under serious political pressure.

Curran’s office has confirmed that the meeting was arranged by text message.

The meeting took place two days before Curran met with the RNZ board and top managers – sparking suspicions within RNZ that Curran wanted to pump Hirschfeld for information about potential roadblocks to Labour’s plan for the state broadcaster to set up a free-to-air TV arm.

I wonder if the texts will confirm my source’s information that Hirschfeld was doing and end run around management with her own plans for Radio NZ’s television channel… and speaking with a compliant and enthusiastic minister. It seems Stuff has heard those rumours too.

Board chair Richard Griffin and chief executive Paul Thompson are known to be unenthusiastic about the TV plan, and would rather put the money into other platforms. Hirschfeld, who came to RNZ from a broadcasting background, backed the proposal.

Griffin is also seen as being on Curran’s hit-list, after the pair sparred for many years while she was opposition broadcasting spokesman. His term as chair expires in April and there is an expectation he will not be reappointed.

Hirschfeld resigned on Tuesday after admitting she had misled Radio NZ bosses about the meeting. She repeatedly told RNZ bosses she ran into Curran by chance and that was how the coffee meeting came about.

A source have told Stuff that she stuck to her story until she was confronted with evidence at a meeting over the weekend that contradicted her version of events.

It could not be confirmed if Curran and Hirschfeld’s text exchanges formed part of the evidence shown to Hirschfeld.

It is likely, however, that Curran’s office would have received an Official Information Act request for those exchanges. By Tuesday night Curran’s office could confirm that a process was “in train” for the text messages to be released.

Cue the Jaws theme music. Curran is in deep trouble but is lucky to have a spineless Prime Minister who’s too afraid to cut throats.

 

-Stuff


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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