Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave two radio interviews this morning without revealing that Clare Curran had resigned from her position as a minister.
On Newstalk ZB, Ardern said she had not considered firing the Broadcasting Minister over a series of mis-steps.
"No, because I think she's paid her price."
And in a light-hearted interview on the entertainment-focused Radio Hauraki, when asked, "Are you going to fire … Curran," the Prime Minister said, "No".
When asked to elaborate, Ardern said Question Time in Parliament "is a pretty heavy environment … ministers have good days and bad days".
Describing the core of the issue in Curran's case, she said: "When you strip it back she neglected to put something in her diary. There are not many places people would get such a backlash over that."
When asked by reporters about her comment to Newstalk ZB, Ardern said: "The question that I was asked this morning was whether I'd asked her to resign, and the answer was no."
Opposition Leader Simon Bridges said Ardern must explain why she "misled New Zealanders this morning by saying Ms Curran's job was safe when Ms Curran says she resigned last night".
Talking on Newstalk ZB tonight, Ardern said that if she had said yes to the questions asked of her this morning, it would not have been a fair representation.
"The question I was asked, to be fair, was whether I was sacking her," she told Heather du Plessis-Allan.
"I hadn't received her resignation at that point," said Ardern. "I hadn't moved the warrants on. I hadn't called or even spoke to the ministers who needed to take over the job. I hadn't informed the cabinet office and so that would have been absolutely premature.
"Once all that was in place I was in a position to make clear what she had decided to do.
"Making it sound as though I had instigated it would have not been a fair reflection."
Pressed by du Plessis-Allan on having left a wrong impression with the public, Ardern said: "I don't like to mislead. I like to be accurate in my language, but at that point, I'm not even clear the minister had told her family."
In a statement this afternoon, Ardern said, "Clare Curran contacted me last night to confirm her wish to resign as a minister and I accepted that resignation".
She agreed with Curran's assessment that resigning was the best course for the Government and Curran.
Ardern said Curran believed the issues surrounding her were causing an unacceptable distraction for the Government and immense pressure on her.
Curran took personal leave on Thursday after a nightmare in Parliament on Wednesday when she was grilled over her use of a Gmail account for Government business.
She was sacked from Cabinet by Ardern and quit two of her ministerial roles on August 24 after not disclosing a meeting set up using her personal email account.