Minister Clare Curran absent from Parliament on leave

Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Clare Curran was absent from Parliament on Thursday on "personal leave".

That meant she wasn't in Parliament during Question Time to respond to National MP Melissa Lee, who asked what Government business she had conducted via her personal email account.

When Ms Lee asked where the Minister was, Minister Megan Woods answered on her behalf to say she didn't have that information and the question could be put in writing.

The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed Ms Curran was away on personal leave.

Yesterday in Parliament Ms Curran struggled to respond to questions from Ms Lee over the use of her personal email address to conduct Government business.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters attempted to defend Ms Curran's performance, saying in Question Time on Thursday that "everyone has an off day".

National spokesperson Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Melissa Lee.
National spokesperson Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Melissa Lee. Photo credit: Parliament TV

He said Ms Ardern had already made her expectations of her Ministers clear, when he was asked whether Ms Curran was setting the benchmark standard.

"The Prime Minister has made it very public that she did not think that a certain standard had been met, and that's why she took action. That's been known for some considerable time," Mr Peters replied.

It's been two weeks since Ms Curran resigned as the Minister for Open Government and Government Digital Services, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicked her out of Cabinet, over her failure to disclose a meeting she held in her Beehive office.  

Before that, she came under fire for failing to disclose a meeting with former RNZ executive Carol Hirschfeld in response to a written parliamentary question.

Ms Curran remains the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and the Associate Minister for ACC, and she is the MP for Dunedin South.