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Monday 12 May 2014


TVNZ's Chief Executive, Kevin Kenrick, says he accepts the findings of the review panel commissioned to investigate allegations of political bias, the misuse of TVNZ resources and conflicts of interest. Mr Kenrick says TVNZ will immediately take steps to tighten internal protocols, as recommended, to protect the editorial independence of its news.

The full report, released today, has been published on the TVNZ website.(click here)

The report finds that Shane Taurima, former General Manager of TVNZ's Maori and Pacific Programmes department, failed to adequately disclose extensive party political activity during his final year with the company. However, it did not find any evidence of bias in any TVNZ programming.

It found that TVNZ resources were used inappropriately for Labour Party political purposes by Mr Taurima and three members of his staff - none of whom are still employed by TVNZ.

CEO Kevin Kenrick says: "We asked the review panel for an objective and independent review. The report is comprehensive, the conclusions are balanced, and the proposed recommendations are very actionable."

The report has identified roles in TVNZ's News and Current Affairs division where the review panel believes political party membership and active support for a political party is untenable. These are roles that carry significant editorial influence and include political reporters, senior content producers, editors and news managers, and the Chief Executive as Editor in Chief.

"What happened was completely unacceptable. It's an absolute necessity for our News and Current Affairs service to operate free from political influence. We already have a number of checks and balances in place to protect the integrity of news coverage and the review panel has identified additional steps we should take to further strengthen our management of political conflicts of interest."

"We won't be asking our staff to tell us who they vote for. But we think it's reasonable to ask anyone who reports, edits or produces political content to be upfront with us if they're a member of a political party. Anyone who creates news content for TVNZ should disclose any political activity beyond passive party membership."

The review finds that TVNZ did not adequately document its discussions with Taurima when he returned to his job after his unsuccessful bid for Labour's Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidacy. This allowed conflicting perceptions to develop around what constraints had been set on his private and professional activities, the report says.

"I accept that there were shortcomings in our management of Shane when he returned to TVNZ, and that won't happen again."



Georgie Hills

TVNZ Corporate Affairs