Topic: Politics

RNZ's Carol Hirschfeld resigns

By Talisa Kupenga

RNZ General Manager of Production Carol Hirschfeld has resigned effective immediately after revelations she misled her boss about a meeting she had with Minister of Broadcasting Clare Curran in December.

National Party Leader Simon Bridges says it’s a concern and serious questions need to be asked.

National claims the minister intentionally tried to hide the meeting.

"We need to get to the bottom of what's happened here but it seems very serious if Carol Hirschfeld has resigned and we need to understand what this means in relation to Clare Curran,” National Leader Simon Bridges says.

At the time the meeting was portrayed as unofficial by the minister and as coincidental by Hirschfeld.  However, on Sunday Hirschfeld confessed to her chief executive that the meeting was pre-arranged.

The meeting has been questioned and criticised in parliament by National.  Curran did not originally declare the meeting, but later acknowledged it occurred.

Curran says, "As soon as I became aware that it should have been considered an official meeting in answer to a written question by the opposition I corrected the parliamentary record.  This was a mistake, the meeting was not secret and I regret that the meeting took place".

Bridges says, “when it rains it pours.  This is just another unprecedented situation that we have here".

Hirschfeld's resignation follows the establishment of the Minister's 4-piece advisory board last month which would be tasked with creating the new Public Media Funding Commission.  Last week the Minister said she was open to having a Māori representative.

Curran says Hirschfeld is not being considered for that position and that this topic was not discussed at the meeting.

The resignation comes amid the government's plans to significantly boost funding to RNZ.

RNZ's head of news and digital Glen Scanlon will replace Hirschfeld in the interim.