It would have been better for someone other than Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran to call RNZ chairman Richard Griffin over his reappearance at a select committee, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
Curran has denied reports that she suggested Griffin should stay away from the select committee but says she left a message on his phone saying he didn't have to appear in person.
"After receiving some advice from the Office of the Leader of the House I made a phone call to him suggesting that if he couldn't attend in person that the record [to] be corrected could be corrected by letter," Curran told reporters today.
Newstalk ZB's political editor Barry Soper reported that Griffin had received a suggestion he stay away from the select committee which has recalled him and RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson over the Carol Hirschfeld affair.
Ardern, who has spoken to Curran, told reporters her Minister's primary concern was that the record be corrected as soon as possible.
"She's advised me that when she found out that Radio New Zealand were no longer able to appear at the committee, her concern was that the record be corrected as soon as possible so that she contacted the chair to advise of an alternative option to make sure that was able to happen."
Ardern conceded, however, that there were other ways Curran could have passed on that message.
"Under the circumstances it would have been cleaner to have either someone from the select committee office or the Leader of the House pass on that advice. Ultimately though, the Minister's focus was on getting the record corrected. It's something she'd been criticised for in the past. When she found out they were already scheduled to come in the following Thursday, she left it at that."
Thompson and Griffin will reappear before the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee on Thursday after inadvertently misleading the committee earlier by saying it was a coincidence that Hirschfeld and Curran had bumped into each other in Wellington's Astoria café.
Curran has been in the spotlight following the resignation of Hirschfeld as RNZ's head of content last week after it was revealed Hirschfeld had repeatedly lied to her bosses about the meeting in December last year.
Hirschfeld had insisted to her bosses that it was a chance encounter but it was found four months later that the breakfast meeting at Wellington's Astoria café was instigated by Curran and arranged by text between the pair.
Hirschfeld was not authorised to meet the Minister and her final admission led to her immediate resignation.
Curran said she could not recall whether she had made a suggestion or inferred that Griffin not appear in person.
"I told him what my advice was, I didn't issue an instruction. My advice was that he write to the committee if he couldn't attend in person and correct the record at the earliest opportunity.
"I thought it was really important that given the state of affairs around this particular issue that the record be corrected as soon as possible."
Griffin confirmed to the New Zealand Herald today that a suggestion had been made that he should not appear in front of the committee in person but instead write a letter of apology.
Griffin said the suggestion applied only to him, not Thompson.
Curran, in her capacity as Broadcasting Minister, is due to fly to Australia for the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, returning on Friday.