What is the government hiding?

Jacinda Ardern’s claims of the being the most open and transparent government ever are now in tatters as her ministers ignored orders from the speaker to bring Curran/Handley related emails to the house: Quote:

Government ministers have defied a pointed request from the Speaker of the House to bring emails from former minister Clare Curran to question time today.

But senior minister Grant Robertson did lay out details of emails between Ms Curran and tech entrepreneur Derek Handley – communications that have become the focus of ongoing scrutiny by the opposition. End quote.

If he had details, then he had the emails and communications. What is the government hiding? Quote:

In the House yesterday Speaker Trevor Mallard made it clear he would?like to see the emails, held by Archives New Zealand, brought to Parliament by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins.

The Speaker has no authority to order a minister or MP to bring any document to the House, except when a minister quotes an official document.

Today Mr Robertson was subbing in for Mr Hipkins, whose partner has just had a baby.

On his way into question time Mr Robertson said he would not be making the emails themselves public.

They’re being dealt with via the normal public records and Official Information Act processes.

“What I am doing in the House today is giving an answer to the question that provides dates and details about the content of the emails.”?End quote.

That is outrageous behaviour. The government has been asked questions, they should answer them. Quote:

Once in the House Mr Robertson gave the details of three interactions between Ms Curran and Mr Handley.

“The first on the 11th of August where Derek Handley emails Clare Curran about the CTO position and questions about the role…including resourcing for the role and potential conflicts of interest.

“On the 14th of August Clare Curran replies to the email, confirming a call to discuss these matters.”

He then described two further exchanges, one on 19 August where they discussed logistics of the job, including the contents of any public statements, contract discussions with Internal Affairs and the management of conflicts of interest.

The third exchange was two days later when Ms Curran emailed details about the work plan to Mr Handley, which he acknowledged.

National MP Nick Smith asked Mr Robertson whether there was anything “inappropriate” in the emails, that influenced the decision to withdraw the offer.

Mr Robertson said that decision was unrelated to anything in those emails.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also asked further questions about a text and email she received from Mr Handley about the position, which she said she did not respond to, to the best of her recollection.End quote.

Her recollection is seems to be almost as bad as Clare Curran’s.

The government is deliberately slowing down the release of these documents. I can’t fathom why. If there is a bomb in them then it is going to go off anyway and they stand charged with obfuscating and delaying. If there is nothing in them then media and the public will rightly wonder why they played this game and they end up being smeared with allegations of obfuscation and delay anyway.

Either way we now know that Jacinda Ardern’s promise of being the most honest and transparent government in history has failed at the first hurdle.

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