Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


A Week of It: Cover Shocker + TVNZ CEO Pay Problem

A Week of It: Cover Shocker +TVNZ CEO Pay Conundrum

April 2006 Listener cover on the left - July 2005 Listener cover on the right

Unpredictable Magazine Produces Predictably Grim Cover Featuring PM

In a recent interview with Colin Peacock on Radio New Zealand's Mediawatch program Listener magazine editor Pamela Stirling pointed out that in the past people had thought of the Listener as the "house journal of the Alliance Party".

Ms Stirling informed Mediawatch that this was a "barrier" to people buying the magazine and that under her editorship the Listener was less predictable as to where it sat on the political spectrum.

"[The Listener has not swung] to the right it is just less predictable. What gets, I think, quite boring about the Listener is where it sits on a left right continuum and I think that is [just] so constraining," Ms Stirling informed Mr Peacock.

While the Listener is certainly not yet in the league of Investigate magazine this week the National Party and in particular National's finance spokesperson John Key took particular delight in an interview the Prime Minister gave to Listener journalist Joanne Black.

In the interview Ms Black repeatedly asked the Prime Minister about Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen's political future as the Minister of Finance. The Prime Minister's failure to guarantee Dr Cullen's position as Minister of Finance in perpetuity led to the Listener interview being brought up repeatedly in the House by National.

Mr Key took some pleasure in the general debate describing how terrified Labour MPs would be scurrying to their local dairy when the Listener came out to see what the Prime Minister was saying about them.

Probably the person who has the most to fear from viewing the latest Listener at her local dairy however would be the Prime Minister herself. In the latest issue it appears the Listener may have hunted down Investigate magazine's hoard of spectacularly unflattering shots of the PM.

A Week of It tracked down James Gilberd of Wellington's Photospace studio/gallery and asked him to run his sharp and discerning photographer's eyes over the most recent Listener cover.

"The cover photo of the latest Listener certainly reflects the premise of the article: Labour is getting tired. NZ Listener covers are usually some kind of graphic composite or illustrative photograph and often look re-touched, but in this recent case, the lighting of the photo reveals every wrinkle. It is more like a press photo than the usual illustrative cover photograph. I do like the design and look of it though - it should help to sell the magazine, and it's not the Women's Weekly," explained Mr Gilberd.

On the plus side for Labour a photograph of Don Brash inside the April 8 2006 Listener was considered by Mr Gilberd to be particularly horrific.

"There is a photo of Don Brash in the article that is worse than anything. It is from the archives of a newspaper or press agency, where a range of photos of all politicians are kept, from the flattering and dynamic to the positively horrific and embarrassing. Photographs of people speaking in public will generate everything in this range," Mr Gilberd informed A Week of It

A smattering of Listener covers featuring either the PM or the Leader of the Opposition since 2004

Early 2004 'The Race Is On' cover. Article accompanying cover entitled 'Man of the Moment'

Mid 2004 'High Noon' cover. Article accompanying cover entitled 'A Budget to Bank On'

Mid 2005 'The Right Stuff' cover. Article accompanying cover entitled 'Fight for the Right'

Mid 2005 'What Went Wrong' cover. Article accompanying cover entitled 'A Change of Tack'

Late 2005 Behind the Scenes cover. Article accompanying cover entitled 'Coming to the Party'

Will Rick Ellis Get His Old Salary Back?

Former TVNZ Chief executive Rick Ellis now TVNZ Chief Executive once again!

This week Rick Ellis was announced as Television New Zealand's new chief executive. Mr Ellis replaces Ian Fraser and is in fact returning to the same position he held four years ago.

Mr Ellis told a press conference this week that "you wouldn't step into this role unless you did have a sense of public service and commitment to it."

Besides a commitment to serving the public there is around 600,000 other good reasons for stepping into the executive leather chair at the head of TVNZ's board-room.

According to media reports Mr Fraser was remunerated to the tune of $600,000 per annum for his efforts to maintain TVNZ's charter commitments while keeping the company financially successful.

However the New Zealand public may have been getting Mr Fraser at a bargain basement rate if an exchange during the 2002 Financial review of TVNZ between Mr Ellis and Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove is anything to go by.


Cosgrove: You said that you have decreased presenters' salaries, and the figure that is given in one of our reports is $150,000. It also noted that the second highest income bracket speculated to be yours, increased by $160,000 to a bracket of $720,000 to $730,000, which is roughly about a 30 percent increase. I am not asking you to personalise it, or state whose salary it is but how do you justify a 30 percent increase, even with your comments about market conditions?

Ellis: Perhaps I could address that in terms of the number of staff paid over $100,000, which are in the statistical breakdown I have. In 2000, the company reported 125 staff with remuneration over $100,000, and 2001 we have reported 134 staff. The breakdown of that is TVNZ Australia has gone from from 10 to 18, consequent, firstly with movements of salary; secondly, the NZ to A dollar conversion, and thirdly, the growth in that business which has been quite substantial in staff numbers. The second company, BCL, has gone up from 16 to 21, also particularly consequential with quite a dramatic growth in the number of staff, particularly in design and build, and within the television business, the number earning over $100,000 has reduced by eight.


No doubt perplexed by how the NZ to Australian dollar conversion was impacting on a presumably New Zealand based employees ability to get a 30% pay rise Mr Cosgrove asked the question again, after Mr Ellis had pointed out that TVNZ was limiting salary increases to 2 percent.


Ellis: I think we have done a very good job at managing the expectations of our staff in terms of salary reviews. I would like to see anyone go into a union negotiation frankly, negotiating salaries down. I suspect that you would have a business go out of business pretty darn quickly. However, having said that we are able to limit salary increases across the board this year to 2 percent. The management team declined any salary increases.

Cosgrove: How then do you justify the 30 percent increase?

Ellis: I thought I had in terms of the growth and the numbers in the subsidiary businesses earning over $100,0000. That is where you would find the guts of it.


Mr Ellis's return to TVNZ was welcomed by Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey. In a press statement Mr Maharey pointed out that Mr Ellis would bring a "wealth of experience" to the position.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news