Ministers of the Crown are supposed to deal with Crown enterprises through boards and CEOs, to ensure they follow the chain of command. So folk were a little surprised to see the new minister of communications, Clare Curran, breakfasting with RNZ head of content (including news) Carol Hirschfeld, at the well-known Wellington eatery, The Astoria.
RNZ spokesman John Barr played down the meeting, saying the minister happened upon the senior news executive while at the restaurant. Hirschfeld was wearing her gym gear at the time. Clearly they wouldn’t have been meeting at the Astoria if they wanted it to be kept quiet, as it is the most public place in Wellington. Barr said. The Minister’s office was more open, and confirmed the two had breakfast together. They discussed “a range of issues about the future of media in NZ.”
No doubt these will include Labour’s plans to pump $38 million into the Radio New Zealand coffers and the opportunities that may arise, especially for those with a background in television Maybe it was just an ‘over the coffee cups’ conversation. But given the state of media and the challenging times ahead for this government, these ministerial discussions should have been with the chairman of the board, Richard Griffin or the chief executive, Paul Thompso. Not with the head of news, relaxing in her gym gear over breakfast at the Astoria.