Tetchy parliamentary hearing with RNZ bosses leaves questions unanswered

Embarrassed Radio New Zealand (RNZ) bosses were back at Parliament on Thursday to explain why they misled MPs over a meeting between Carol Hirschfeld and the Broadcasting Minister.

RNZ chairman Richard Griffin and chief executive Paul Thompson were hauled back to correct the record after "inadvertently misleading" MPs about a meeting their former head of news had with Clare Curran.

"Honestly it's embarrassing for us, but we're in a position where we feel we have to explain this," Mr Griffin said.

The now notorious meeting took place on December 5, 2017, at Astoria Cafe in Wellington.

For more than three months, Ms Hirschfeld repeatedly told her bosses that she had simply bumped into the minister after a gym session.

Even after her resignation, the story lives on because questions remain: what was discussed in the meeting, and why was it covered up?

Mr Griffin couldn't hide his frustration at having to come back to MPs to try and set things straight, saying he and his colleagues were "victims of political theatre".

"I don't want this to drag on, it's done enough damage already."

Ms Curran conveniently wasn't around Parliament to face any backlash, as she is currently on the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games.

She says she's not concerned about the safety of her job, but that could change.

A question still hangs over a voicemail left by Ms Curran just last week suggesting that RNZ could simply send in a letter to correct the record, instead of appearing and being questioned.

"My main concern was to have the record corrected at the first available opportunity," she told Newshub.

Ms Curran can't recall exactly what she said in the voicemail left on Richard Griffin's phone, but that probably won't be a mystery for long.

MPs have now formally requested a copy of that audio, so it could soon be made public.


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