'Weak, indecisive': RNZ Hirschfeld scandal a Govt botch-up - Bridges

National's leader is refusing to let the Government off easy over the Radio New Zealand meeting scandal, saying the Labour/NZ First coalition looks like an "extended family reunion gone wrong".

"I think ultimately what we've got here is a plain and simple cover-up," Simon Bridges told The AM Show host Eric Young on Tuesday morning.

Senior manager at RNZ Carol Hirschfeld resigned after management said she'd misled them about the nature of a meeting with the Broadcasting Minister for almost four months. Ms Hirschfeld had told management the meeting with Clare Curran was a coincidence, before admitting last Sunday it was pre-arranged.

Ms Curran won't be following in her footsteps, defending her own conduct during what she called an "informal catch up over breakfast".

But Mr Bridges says that just doesn't add up.

"Quite clearly the Government's trying to say 'nothing to see here, no big deal' - but if that's the case, why did Carol Hirschfeld have to resign?

"And why New Zealanders should worry about that is because it took a whole lot of drawing out in Parliament through proper processes to get to the bottom of it.

"You've got fundamentally a Government that looks a bit more like an extended family reunion gone wrong than a competent Government."

He says it was "weak, indecisive leadership" which let down the handling of the situation.

"And then I think there's just a lack of a Government programme which means that they can't fall back on that and they haven't got anything driving, propelling them forward if you like."

RNZ protocol would have meetings between the broadcaster and Ministers arranged through the chair or chief executive.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Curran said "at no time" did she call the meeting coincidental.

"While I believe the meeting was not official and informal, as soon as I became aware that it should have been considered an official meeting in answer to a written question, I corrected the Parliamentary record. This was a mistake.

"The meeting was not a secret, and I regret that the meeting took place."

The fallout from the meeting will unlikely affect funding allocated to RNZ and has not damaged the relationship with the state broadcaster, Ms Curran says.


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