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Prime Minister exposes TVNZ to legal claim

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Deputy Leader National Party

25 February 2000

Prime Minister exposes TVNZ to legal claim

Helen Clark thought she knew it all, and didn't take legal advice, providing TV3 with evidence to pursue a legal claim against TVNZ over the Hawkesby affair, Opposition Deputy Leader Wyatt Creech said today.

"Ms Clark talked freely about 'enticement' being the 'real scandal' in TVNZ's hiring of John Hawkesby. Her assumption that TV3 could use the report of the independent arbitrator who dealt with the Hawkesby-TVNZ dispute was wrong.

"Had she taken legal advice before opening her mouth, she would have found that the arbitrator's report could not be used as evidence in proceedings by TV3 that TVNZ had induced Mr Hawkesby to break his contract with TV3.

"The Prime Minister's comments have given TV3 a very strong lead in building up a case.

"Her own Attorney-General, Margaret Wilson, has distanced herself from her own Prime Minister's behaviour. In Parliament Ms Wilson has indicated she clearly felt the Prime Minister should have taken legal advice, and went so far as to state she assumed she had.

"Clark's grandstanding about TVNZ's performance has come back to bite her. Unfortunately it is the taxpayer who will ultimately pay."

Ends

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