Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran cannot recall suggesting RNZ chairman Richard Griffin should stay away from a select committee but says she left a message on his phone saying a letter would suffice if he couldn't make it.
"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 today that Griffin had received a suggestion from Curran that he stay away from the select committee which has recalled him and RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson over the Carol Hirschfeld affair.
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 the Astoria cafe.
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 a report 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 denied she had suggested Griffin write a letter of apology, but write to correct the record only. She said she left the message for Griffin on Thursday and he had responded saying he had already agreed to appear in person.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had spoken to her Minister and she understood correcting the record as soon as possible had been Curran's focus.
"In the discussion I've had, the focus was on the written answer because of the timeliness. Obviously the alternative was waiting another week."
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 about the meeting she and Curran had in December.
Hirschfeld had insisted to her bosses that it was a chance encounter but it was found four months later that the meeting was instigated by Curran and arranged by text message between the pair.
Hirschfeld was not authorised to meet the minister and her admission led to her immediate resignation.
Curran has said those comments to the select committee prompted her office to immediately contact the broadcaster on March 1, and again on March 22, to set the record straight that the meeting was pre-planned.
Hirschfeld continued to describe meeting with Curran as unplanned even after the select committee meeting.
Griffin says a personal source contacted him late last week to tell him that the meeting between Hirschfeld and Curran was not coincidental and was in fact scheduled in the minister's diary.
Curran, in her capacity as Broadcasting Minister, is due to fly to Australia for the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, returning on Friday.