RNZ Official Information Act release

Hon Clare Curran

1. "All correspondence between the former RNZ Head of News Carol Hirschfeld, and the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, including text messages and emails."

These are have previously been released, but are attached.

These text messages are all correspondence between Minister Curran and Carol Hirschfeld.

2. "I would also like to extend the request to any diary entries or briefing notes referring to Ms Hirschfeld, held by the Office of the Minister."

5 December 2017

7 December 2017, Board meeting that Carol Hirschfeld attended

3. "Any communications between Curran (or her office) and Hirschfeld between when Curran took office and today? This includes emails and text messages."

Attached under part one

The office has not had any correspondence with Carol Hirschfeld

4. "I’m also looking to see a copy of all communications between the Minister or her office and RNZ since during March 2018 (thus far)."

Attached under part 26, which covers this period.

5. "A copy of all emails sent or received by the Minister and/or her staff mentioning, or relating to, the meeting between the minister and Carol Hirschfeld that led to her resignation."

Attached

Redactions made under s9(2)(a), 9(2)(f)(iv)

6. "A copy of all text messages sent or received by the Minister and/or her staff mentioning, or relating to, the meeting between the Minister and Carol Hirschfeld that led to her resignation."

Only the text messages released in part one.

7. "A copy of any letters, memos, briefing notes, or meeting notes sent, received or prepared by the Minister’s office mentioning, or relating to, the meeting between the Minister and Carol Hirschfeld that led to her resignation."

There are 9 documents identified within scope of the request which were used as draft answers for answers to oral Questions in the House. I have withheld these documents in full under section 9(2)(f)(iv) of the Act on the grounds that the advice is tendered in confidence.

8. "A written and detailed statement of what was discussed at the meeting."

 The attached information reflects the best of the Minister’s recollection regarding the content of the meeting. It comprises of public statements and transcripts from media interviews.

9. "The name of the person who arranged the meeting. And the title of the person that arranged the meeting."

Hon Clare Curran, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.

10. "The date and time that the meeting was arranged."

The meeting was arranged through a series of text messages on 23 November, 2017 with the final confirmation of the meeting taking place at 8.48pm.

11. "The date and time that the meeting commenced and concluded"

The meeting was scheduled in the diary from 8.15am to 9.15am on December 5, 2017.

12. "A copy of any written communications regarding the meeting, including any agenda, minutes, notes, text messages, that occurred pre/during/post meeting"

All emails are attached under part five

The only other documents, mentioned in part seven, have been withheld in full under section 9(2)(f)(iv) of the Act on the grounds that the advice is tendered in confidence.

13. "The names of all persons that were at the meeting and/or participated by phone etc, and their employment title."

Hon Clare Curran, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.

Carol Hirschfeld, Head of Content at Radio NZ

14. "Is there any written procedures/policies/guidelines etc. regarding Government Ministers, in relation to ensuring that Ministers do not influence freedom of the media, and that media and government is independent of each other. Including under the Cabinet manual. If so please provide these procedures/policies/guidelines."

The Cabinet Manual is an authoritative guide to central government decision making for Ministers, their offices, and those working within government. It contains general information about the role of Ministers of the Crown, including guidance on ministerial conduct and the management of conflicts of interest, Cabinet decision-making, and the relationship between Ministers of the Crown and the State sector. While there is no specific guidance on the role of Ministers in their interactions with the media, these general principles will apply at all times.

In particular, we note that the Cabinet Manual provides at paragraph 2.56 that at all times, "Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. This includes exercising a professional approach
 

and good judgement in their interactions with the public and officials, and in all their communications, personal and professional. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.

15. "Is there any additional written procedures/policies/guidelines etc. over and above those in 7 above, in relation to the Minister of Broadcasting. And if so please provide these documents."

Advice provided in part 14 applies to all Ministerial portfolios and there is no specific advice for the Minister of Broadcasting.

16. "Any correspondence including text messages, between Minister Curran’s ministerial staff/parliamentary staff/seconded staff to and from any person at Radio New Zealand between the period 1 November 2017 to 31 March 2018 pertaining to the arrangement and records of meetings and discussions between Carol Hirschfeld and those staff in the Minister’s office, Carol Hirschfeld and the Minister, Paul Thompson and those staff in the Minister’s office, Paul Thompson and the Minister, Richard Griffin and those staff in the Minister’s office, Richard Griffin and the Minister."

Text messages released in Part one.

Part 26 covers all communications with Radio NZ since October 26 2017.

Part 17 includes information about the content of calls between Richard Griffin and the Office.

17. "I would also like, where possible, phone logs and diary entries for the same staff over the same period."

Attached are the diary entries for Hon Curran and the office.

It is not possible to provide staff phone logs over this time period and this section of the request is partially declined under 18(e) as the information does not exist. Phone logs for staff office phones do not keep long term records of all calls made, received or missed. Therefore, I am unable to provide you with phone logs of staff.

However, attached is a table showing the phone interactions between the office and RNZ, regarding Carol Hirschfeld and the Select Committee.

18. "A copy of any documents relating to the content of your Wellington cafe meeting with RNZ employee Carol Hirshfield."

See parts 7 and 8.

19. "Additionally I request your recollections of the content of this meeting. Such recollections have previously been determined by The Chief Ombudsman to be covered by the OIA in a finding relating to Helen Clark. Please note that my request is for the full recollections of the content of the meeting not just a broad summary. You will be familiar with the guide on the OIA for Ministers and Agencies which, at page 6, clarifies what is official information and that it

includes knowledge of a particular matter held by an officer, employee or member of an agency in their official capacity."

Attached under part eight

The attached information reflects the best of the Minister’s ability to recall the content of the meeting

20. "Any text messages, voicemail messages or emails exchanged between Ms Curran and Radio NZ board chair Richard Griffin since Wednesday last week (28 March)?"

Attached is a copy of transcript of text to Richard and voicemail left by Richard. I do not hold texts, voice messages from Mr Griffin’s phone.

21. "All text messages between Clare Curran and RNZ Board Members and the Chair regarding their appearance at select committee to correct the record;"

Attached as part 20

22. "All correspondence between Clare Curran’s office and the RNZ Board Members and the Chair regarding their appearance at select committee to correct the record."

This is interpreted to mean Radio New Zealand’s appearance at the select committee on 5 April and therefore, declined under 18(e) of the Official Information Act, as the information does not exist. There was no communication between the office (besides the Minister – attached under part 20) and the RNZ Board on this matter.

However, see parts 17 and 26 for communications with RNZ prior to this.

23. "Copies of all correspondence between Hon Clare Curran and her office and Chairman of Radio NZ Richard Griffin, including memos, emails, text messages, transcripts of voicemails, and summary notes of in person conversations, relating to Mr Griffin reappearing before the relevant Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee to correct the record regarding Hon Curran's meeting with Carol Hirschfeld in December of 2017."

Attached as part 20.

24. "A copy of the text message sent by Minister Curran to Richard Griffin that she referred to on the House Run. Could you also please provide a transcript of the voice messages sent and received on the topic of appearing before select committee vs sending a letter of correction."

Attached as part 20.

25. "A copy of that text message Curran sent to Griffin last week."

Attached as part 20.

26. "Could you please supply a copy of all communications between Clare Curran and/or her office and any staff or board members of Radio New Zealand. This should include text messages, voice messages, a log of any phone calls made or received, and any written communications including letters and emails."

All communications are attached.

Also see part 17 regarding phone logs.

27. "I would like to request, under the OIA, the voice recording left on Clare Curran’s phone from Richard Griffin on March 29."

A transcript of the recording is attached in part 20.

28. "What were the dates of the two calls from the Minister’s office referred to by her in the House today and what was the purpose of those calls?"

March 1 and March 22

To inform them that the Minister would provide a truthful account of events if asked.

29. "Who received the calls at RNZ?"

I am declining this request under section 9(2)(a) of the Official Information Act, to protect the privacy of natural persons.

30. "Any minutes, notes, or recordings concerning Griffin’s phonecall to the Minister on March 23."

No minutes or notes were identified, but text and voice recording transcript attached in part 20.

31. "The voicemail Griffin left the Minister after he left her one last week."

A transcript is attached in part 20.

32. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office with the Chair of Radio New Zealand, Richard Griffin, from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached as parts 20, 26

33. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office with Members of the Board of Radio New Zealand from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached as part 26

 

34. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office with the CEO of Radio New Zealand, Paul Thompson, from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached as part 26

35. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office in regards to her statement "that if [Richard Griffin] couldn't attend in person that the record [to] be corrected could be corrected by letter" at the hearing before the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee on 5 April 2018"

Attached as parts 20 and 39.

36. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office to the Office of Hon Chris Hipkins from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached.

Text messages have been redacted under 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i)

37. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office in regards to her suggestion to the Chair of Radio New Zealand to write a letter to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee regarding their appearance scheduled on 5 April 2018"

Attached as parts 20 and 39.

38. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office to the Office of Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached

Text messages have been redacted under 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i)

39. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office to the Chief Executive of ManatūTaonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Paul James, from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

Attached.

Text messages have been redacted under 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i)

40. "All communications and correspondence to/from the Minister and/or her office to the now former Head of News for Radio New Zealand, Carol Hirschfeld, from 20 February 2018 to 3 April 2018"

See part 3.

41. "All advice and correspondence thereof from the Cabinet Secretary and/or the Cabinet Office that the Minister has sought since 5 January 2018"

transferred to Cabinet Office for response

42. "All additional briefings, memos and correspondence to the Minister and/or her office regarding the Radio New Zealand appearance scheduled on 5 April 2018"

Attached