Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran has apologised to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for failing to disclose her meeting with Carol Hirschfeld when she was initially asked about it.

But Ardern continues to have confidence in Curran and has no intention of stripping her of the Broadcasting or Open Government portfolios.

Curran has been under pressure over the meeting, which she failed to disclose in her original answer to a parliamentary question on December 7 about who she had met from Radio NZ.

It has raised questions about why she was meeting with Hirschfeld and not the chair of the RNZ board Richard Griffin or chief executive Paul Thompson, who Curran met with two days later.


Hirschfeld resigned yesterday for misleading RNZ bosses over the nature of meeting, having wrongly claimed for months that it was a chance encounter.

Ardern said today that Curran's meeting did not breach any rules in the Cabinet Manual, but that Curran had made a mistake by omitting the meeting in her original answer to the parliamentary written question.

"The minister had apologised to me for the lack of transparency from the very beginning around the fact that the meeting occurred, and the fact it was not included in that original written question. It should have been."

Ardern said there was nothing wrong with Curran meeting with Hirschfeld in the first place, despite it raising questions about possible Government interference with the editorial direction of the state broadcaster.

"The primary relationship is between the minister and the board. The minister is very clear on that. But it is not unusual for ministers to meet with those who work within Crown entities generally."

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said questions still remained over the meeting, which took place two days before Curran met Griffin and Thompson, as well as Hirschfeld and other senior Radio NZ staff.

"They must have known that this was a meeting they shouldn't really be having," Bridges said.

"It was going past the hierarchy at Radio NZ. It was against the protocols between the Government and RNZ. Something more was going on here.


"It's hard for New Zealanders to trust what she [Curran] is saying."

He was not prepared to call for Curran to resign until he knew more about the meeting.

"These sorts of processes around the state broadcaster and the Government are put in place for really good reasons. They're about having strong, independent media. Also there's big dollars involved in this. Clare Curran should have been careful to get that sort of thing right."

Curran said she asked for the meeting because Hirschfeld was a highly respected expert in her field and "I thought it would have been a good exchange of views".

She was not aware of any disagreements between Hirschfeld and Griffin or Thompson over the future of Radio NZ, and had confidence in Griffin.

In the House this afternoon, Curran said her meeting with Hirschfeld included discussions about potential funding for Radio NZ.


She later clarified that there was no discussion about how Hirschfeld would use the planned $38 million for RNZ+ and NZ On Air that Labour had campaigned on.

"There is no definite funding committed to RNZ+ and NZ On Air at this point because there's a Budget process. And neither was there at the time I had the meeting with Carol Hirschfeld.

"It was an explanation of the policy proposals at a very high level."

In the House, Curran was asked about whether she had had any other meetings that she might have mistakenly thought were unofficial.

"Not to my recollection," Curran replied.