COMMENT:

Clare Curran had to go. She should have been gone as a minister weeks ago.

Despite being given a number of second chances, the embattled minister blew them all and so on Friday, she resigned from her portfolios.

She's still the MP for Dunedin South and given her healthy majority, she will probably stay the MP for Dunedin South for as long as she wants the gig, but she is no longer Mr Magoo-ing her way around Parliament as a minister, bumbling along from one disaster to the next. Which will be a relief to the Prime Minister.

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And a cause for regret for National, whose attack hounds had probably planned to spend the weekend licking their chops, salivating at the prospect of having another go at Clare Curran during Question Time in the House. But even when Ms Curran does the right thing, she gets it wrong. Her press conference on Friday afternoon was full of self pity and delusional justification.

She opened by saying that like the rest of us, she is a human being and she can no longer endure the relentless pressure she's been under. She conceded she's made mistakes but those mistakes have been greatly amplified and she finds the pressure intolerable. So let me stop the former minister right there.

The pressure has come and the mistakes have been amplified because she has made the same mistake twice. What part of always record your meetings did she not get after the fall out from the Carol Hirschfeld debacle?

She was lucky to get away with a public telling off after her clandestine meeting with the former head of news at Radio NZ but then, despite crossing her heart and hoping to die and assuring her colleagues that yep, she totally understood the process now, if you have a meeting, you have to let your team know that it's taking place, she then goes and has another undisclosed meeting with a bloke who wants the new chief technology officer's job.

She didn't put it in her diary, she didn't bother telling her staffers that the entrepreneur and front runner for the job was coming in and she left out the information in a written response to a Parliamentary question.

Come on, Clare! Whose fault is it that the media are asking questions and the Nats are taking chunks out of you? As for that dreadful, incoherent answer to Melissa Lee's question about the use of personal email for government business – dear me.

I think everyone who witnessed that knew that the end was nigh. Curran then went on in her press conference to say that she had worked hard on issues she particularly believed in.

Like bringing more depth and sustainability to the media, particularly publicly funded media, to make our democracy stronger. And yet the clandestine meeting with Radio NZ's head of news was a shining example of what NOT to do to create a thriving democratic system.

When the saga became public knowledge, there were members of the public who wondered why it mattered.

'What's this media beat up all about?' asked one particularly unenlightened texter on my ZB show. 'Two chicks had coffee, one of them's hot. So what?'.

The point is that in an open democracy, you cannot have a government interfering, or appearing to interfere, with the media.

The Minister of Broadcasting held a meeting with a senior member of management at Radio NZ. The Cabinet Manual says that if a minister wants to meet with an employee of a government agency, then the minister must first have ensured the employee has raised the matter with the chief executive.

That clearly didn't happen. Who knows what sweetheart deals could be arranged in meetings between taxpayer funded ministers and members of taxpayer funded organisations?

Curran could have promised more money to Radio NZ if the news director promised to take a softly, softly approach to her boss and her party.

It's unlikely to have happened, but unless the meeting is publicly recorded, how on earth would anyone know?

Curran has done the right thing by resigning. I don't think she's a bad person, but she's clearly out of her depth in her ministerial roles and when that starts to impact on your personal life, it's sensible to call it quits.

There's more to life than being a government minister. But she needs to be very clear that she is the author of her own misfortune.

She was given one chance, then another – she even looked to be getting a third until she fell on her sword. And that's three more chances than most people get.