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Resignation of Tony Veitch

Statement from Rick Ellis, TVNZ

Earlier today I accepted the resignation of ONE News sports presenter Tony Veitch.

His departure takes effect immediately.

Tony has given TVNZ the contracted three month notice period.

I have said that it is not necessary for him to work out his notice period.

I have to say that I take no pleasure in announcing this news.

Tony has been a long and loyal TVNZ staff member, having worked for the company for around 13 years.

Tony is a talented radio and television broadcaster - creative and hard working.

But he has accepted that the recent controversy makes it unrealistic for him to remain with TVNZ.

I trust that in time Tony will continue with a successful career.

I wish Tony and his wife well.

TVNZ is conscious that the recent controversy has also caused enormous stress to Tony's former partner who, as some of you will be aware, worked some years ago in the company and is well-remembered by many of our staff.

Our hope is that Kristin Dunne-Powell will be able to move on with her life and career. I know that Kristin was a very talented and hard working marketer, and I am deeply saddened that two people who have added much to this company should now find themselves in such a devastatingly painful situation.

Irrespective of what actually happened more than two years ago, two talented young people have paid a heavy price.

Unfortunately, TVNZ's reputation has suffered in this matter too.

I am deeply disappointed for all our staff and supporters who have put so much hard work into this company in the past 18 months to two years.

We have been going well, so this is a blow to us.

We acknowledge and respect the public response to the allegations.

New Zealanders have the right to question whether or not we have done the right thing here. As New Zealand's public broadcaster that should be so. Our standards on all matters should be high.

New Zealanders have had enough of violence. As a company, TVNZ does not condone violence – it is not OK.

With that in mind, let me now make some important points.

Tony met with a group of managers in December 2007 to discuss what was for him a serious personal issue.

While he did outline a situation that included a minor fracas two years earlier, this was not the focus of the meeting. The nature of the discussion left those in that meeting, who are all senior and very experienced managers, with the clear view that it was a private matter of a civil nature that was being worked out between the parties concerned. That's why they didn't elevate it to me as CEO.

Now, for Privacy Act reasons I cannot discuss further details of that meeting but the severity of the incident as outlined to TVNZ bore little relation to that described in some media allegations – which I must point out, remain allegations.

I have had separate legal advice to say that the actions of my managers, given the information they were told at the time, was correct and I stand by them.

If the allegations that have subsequently been made in some media had been communicated to my managers at the time I am confident that they would have raised the matter with me.

They are competent and trusted colleagues, and one of the reasons we have employed them is that they are people of integrity.

But as with everything in life it's important that the company learns from this.

With Tony's resignation we will shortly conclude our review. We will learn from it and make appropriate changes to our management and employment practices.

This has been an unhappy time for everyone involved, but it's important now for us to refocus.

In the end, I and TVNZ's management and staff of more than 1000 want to move on now and focus on doing the terrific job New Zealanders have come to expect of us, as their public broadcaster.

We sincerely hope we can deliver for New Zealanders and earn and retain their faith and confidence in us.


ENDS

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