Clare Curran's questioning fumble 'catastrophic' - Tova O'Brien

Clare Curran is in hot water once again after an "appalling display" during Wednesday's Question Time over her email usage.

The Broadcasting Minister struggled to answer National MP Melissa Lee's question as to why she had used her personal Gmail account for official Government business.

When asked what Government business had been conducted using her personal email, Ms Curran stumbled her way through a confusing answer.

"To the best of my recollection, um, ah, ah, I haven't, um, I haven't used my, um, I've answered, um, OIA, uh, uh - OIA responses and personal, um, and parliamentary questions correctly and to the best of my recollection, um, uh, you know, that - that has - that's what I've done," she said.

Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien says it was a "catastrophic" performance from the Minister, who has already been stripped of two portfolios and removed from Cabinet after failing to record private meetings.

"Clare Curran stumbled and fumbled over questions she couldn't answer, simple questions she couldn't understand," O'Brien told The AM Show.

"She had to have them repeated for her. At one point the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard had to swoop in and rescue her and buy her time so she could catch her breath."

He later had to force her to answer a question, which she again stumbled over. O'Brien says her response was an "appalling display" from an MP.

"When you're a Minister under the pump, if you have the courage of your convictions, that's when you need to step up and take ownership. She completely failed to do that, she went the opposite in fact - straight out the back door."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has maintained that she has confidence in Ms Curran. When asked about the Gmail scandal, she said all those emails are still accessible and available under the Official Information Act.

O'Brien says while Ministers aren't fired for poor performances in the House, Ms Curran's fumbling "won't be lost on the Prime Minister" - and neither will the annoyance of having to answer Parliamentary questions about the Minister's misuse of email.

"She won't be happy about that one bit."

She says Ms Curran's continued role in Government after her many scandals isn't a good look for Labour.

"This is a woman who was the Minister for Open Government and she got busted twice having secret meetings with people. She's still the Minister of Communications and she can't even communicate simple answers to the Parliament about her communications.

You've got something wrong here, there is something awry... You can be dead sure that National will not be letting this go."

Ms Curran wasn't the only one who gave an "abysmal" performance in Parliament on Wednesday according to O'Brien - Kelvin Davis who was acting for the Prime Minister had a poor showing as well.

"It didn't look good that while the Prime Minister was away, two of her Ministers could barely get their words out in the Parliament."

However O'Brien says Ms Ardern has defended some of Ms Curran's actions.

"Jacinda Ardern did make the point on Tuesday that Clare Curran proactively released all those Gmail emails into her Parliamentary emails, so presumably the Prime Minister's seen them and knows whether or not there's classified documents in there."

The Speaker also made the point that there are no restrictions on Members using their Gmail addresses, and said that the previous Government had done something similar with their Foreign Affairs portfolio.

"But it's what's in those emails and how Clare Curran's handling it as to whether the Prime Minister still has confidence in a Minister who can barely get her words out," says O'Brien.

"This is going to be the test."