Dec 23, 2007

Some Further Reflections On The Curran Report

We have now had time to digest the full SSC report on the Curran affair and all the annexes. They make fascinating reading. They show clearly that Curran was more than a public service communications advisor, she was constantly providing political advice. She should have been employed by the Minister in his office, not by the Ministry for Environment.

It is also clear that Clare Curran was seen by the Ministry as more than just a short term contractor. She was known to be close to the Minister and because of these links there was at least one meeting with CEO Hugh Logan.

The SSC report is interesting on this point. It suggests that Private Secretary Justine Daw had exaggerated Curran's relationship with the Minister (see her e-mail of 19/6/06 in which she describes Curran as David Parker's "right hand woman").

We know Justine Daw. She is (or was) part of the "A" team in MfE. She was a former staff member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and had returned reasonably recently from a posting at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris. Recruiting her from MFAT was regarded as a coup and she was chosen for the role in Parker's office because she was regarded as highly professional and a very safe pair of hands. You can see this in everything she wrote. Indeed, much is made of her well chosen words to exonerate the Minister elsewhere in the report. Daw would not have used the "right hand woman" comment lightly.