Jan Tinetti live updates: Minister to be grilled by MPs in major Privileges Committee session

Education Minister Jan Tinetti has faced Parliament's powerful Privileges Committee over a delay in correcting an inaccurate statement in the House.

It's the first time in about 15 years a minister has been referred to the committee - the last time being Winston Peters in 2008 during the Owen Glenn saga.

The committee is chaired by Labour's David Parker, while National MP Michael Woodhouse is the deputy chair.

What led to this?

In December, the Ministry of Education had the latest school attendance data ready, but emails obtained by Newshub show Tinetti's office wanted the release delayed until the day after the minister announced a $74 million truancy package. This happened about two months later.

During Question Time in February, Tinetti was asked to categorically state she played no part in the delay of the release of school attendance information and replied by saying she already had and it was a decision for the Ministry of Education for when to release the data.

Following that exchange, her office informed the minister it had been involved with the data's release.

According to the Speaker, Tinetti received a letter from him on May 1 telling her the answer needed to be corrected, which she did the next day. Newshub went on to reveal the office's involvement in the attendance data release on May 4. 

At the end of May, the Speaker said the answer should have been corrected as soon as Tinetti became aware of the inaccuracy. Tinetti claims she didn't know her answer needed to be corrected until the Speaker's letter.

The Speaker said the matter would be referred to the Privileges Committee to determine whether the "delay in correcting an inaccurate statement in this instance amounts to contempt". 

Last week, the committee met behind doors and agreed to send Tinetti a series of follow-up questions and also request she appear before the MPs in an open session.   

1:30pm - The session has now finished. You'll be able to watch the full session above soon.

1:20pm - Tinetti says she "takes a lot more care now", including checking the Hansard and the video of her answer during Question Time. 

She says she ensures her staff engage in Question Time more carefully and has reminded them that the emails overstepped the mark. 

1:10pm - Tinetti says her focus was on the data itself, rather than on the release of the data.

Tinetti says she didn't approve the release of the data.  She says that's not for the minister to do.

Tinetti says she believed the release was delayed because of the North Island weather events. But she now understands that was not the case.

1pm - Labour's Duncan Webb is now going over the timeline with Tinetti. Tinetti emphasises that when she gave her statement during the February Question Time she believed it was correct.

She says she realised she had to correct the answer after the Speaker's letter.

Tinetti says she now goes back and re-watches her Question Time answers and Hansard afterwards. She didn't do this after the February Question Time.

She says she takes the House "very seriously".

12:55pm - Woodhouse is now asking whether Tinetti had any discussions with the Prime Minister's Office about the attendance data release. The Education Minister says she didn't have any. 

She says she is "very disappointed" by her staff's involvement. However, she says she takes responsibility.

There are a lot of conversations between the minister's office and the Prime Minister's Office that the minister isn't privy to, and she wasn't privy to their discussions on this.

Under questioning from National's Gerry Brownlee, Tinetti confirms she didn't know about the link between the release of the attendance data and the truancy announcement at the time.

12:45pm - National MP Michael Woodhouse is currently grilling Tinetti over at what point she came to realise she needed to correct her answer and her answer was misleading.

She says her staff's actions overstepped the mark and she has had discussions with her staff about it. She repeats that she deeply regrets she didn't give the situation more consideration.

12:40pm - Tinetti says she was disappointed in the emails between her office and the ministry. But she says she takes responsibility given it is her office.

Tinetti says advice to her after the February 22 Question Time wasn't definitive about whether she needed to correct her answer at that time. 

She says it was her decision given the range of views she received.

Tinetti says the next time the topic was raised was when she saw the Official Information Act about the emails. 

12:35pm - Tinetti says it was an error of judgement not to inform the Parliament of the inaccuracy and corrected the error at the earliest opportunity after the letter from the Speaker. She says she did not intend to mislead the Parliament.

Tinetti said the day she made the inaccurate statement was the first day of Parliament's Question Time for 2023 and her first time answering as Minister of Education. 

After Question Time, she went straight into meetings. She said she was not being regularly prompted on the matter as there were no further questions on the issue.

She said at the time of the question she was saying she personally played no role in the release of the attendance data. But she then learnt her office had.

But she accepts she should have gone back to the House and corrected her answer.

Tinetti says she was verbally told after Question Time, before her meetings, that her office had been involved. It took place over about five minutes. She says it didn't alter the intent of what she said.

12:30pm - Jan Tinetti has just arrived at the Select Committee room for the session. Going in, she told media she was feeling okay. She wouldn't divulge what she would tell the committee.

Jan Tinetti live updates: Minister to be grilled by MPs in major Privileges Committee session
Photo credit: Newshub.

12:10pm - You can read the original story about Tinetti's office being involved in the attendance data release from Newshub's senior political reporter Amelia Wade here.

12pm - Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live updates of a significant moment in Parliament.

Tinetti will soon face a number of MPs over the delay in correcting an inaccurate statement in Parliament. You read what exactly led to this moment above.

We will add the stream above when it begins around 12:30pm.