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TVNZ UPDATE ON MAORI AND PACIFIC PROGRAMMES MANAGEMENT


18 February 2014

TVNZ's Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick says:

Many people are asking why Shane Taurima was kept on in an editorial role following his unsuccessful bid for the Ikaroa Rawhiti Labour candidacy last year. The answer is, at the time we sought and received assurances from Shane that he had no further political ambitions. When asked to choose between journalism and politics, he chose journalism. With the benefit of hindsight that decision was a mistake.

Following Shane's resignation yesterday, TVNZ has appointed Raewyn Rasch as acting GM of Maori and Pacific Programmes. Raewyn is a highly respected journalist and producer who has worked closely with the Maori and Pacific Programme team over several years. 

TVNZ will now launch an investigation into staff use of TVNZ resources to support political party activities. It will also review the editorial independence of the Maori and Pacific Programming division during Shane Taurima's time as manager (February 2013 to February 2014).

The investigation will be led by Brent McAnulty, TVNZ's Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs and report to me, as TVNZ's Editor in Chief. Brent will head up a review team that has access to all TVNZ internal resources, and a search has begun to identify a suitably qualified external person to provide an objective and independent critique of our editorial performance. 

This investigation will be conducted as a matter of priority but it won't be a rush job - we're focussed on carrying out a robust and comprehensive investigation that looks into this matter thoroughly. 

The review findings and recommendations will be made publicly available.

Given our position as New Zealand's most watched news provider we hold ourselves to the highest standards of editorial independence and balance. Clearly a line has been crossed here - it's unacceptable and we make no excuses for what's happened.

Our focus now is to clearly and fully understand what has happened; how this happened; and what we need to do to ensure it doesn't happen again.

ENDS