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TVNZ responds to baseless rumours

TVNZ responds to baseless rumours

TVNZ and Tom Parkinson have been in discussion for several months about the newly created role of Head of Programmes at TVNZ. We had negotiated the terms of a contract, although many of the details, such as the start date, had not been resolved.

Since then there has been substantial media coverage of the fact that Tom Parkinson wound up his production company, Isambard. Fuelling the media attention has been comment from within some quarters of the television production industry.

TVNZ tried to get to the bottom of the industry rumour and innuendo and we have found much of it baseless and some of it scurrilous. I have had the various disclosures and claims carefully investigated and I find in them nothing to alter my view of Tom. I have known him for years and I continue to regard him as a person of talent and integrity. Indeed, so far as I am concerned, he stands head and shoulders above his detractors.

However, the controversy that has embroiled Tom, even before his appointment could be announced, has lead him to the view that he would find the Head of Programmes position untenable in the circumstances. The constant media attention, which looks set to continue, is already unhelpful and distracting and could prove debilitating in the longer term. He has, therefore, asked to withdraw.

I have reluctantly agreed to this. I regret very much that Tom feels he could no longer operate effectively in the Head of Programmes role.

TVNZ will be delivering its new Charter from the beginning of next year. We are unlikely to have a Head of Programmes in place before the start date of the Charter. I have asked Tom whether he is willing to assist me in an advisory capacity as we frame our content plan for the first few months of the Charter. No other producer in this country can match the richness and variety of his output and I am delighted that he is prepared to give us a hand to put together a content and production plan that will reflect the values of the Charter and, in doing so, help us to engage and satisfy and enrich even more New Zealanders.

The search for TVNZ's Head of Programmes continues and I hope to be able to announce an appointee shortly.

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