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Apparent “culture of exorbitance” at TVNZ

Media release - Commerce Committee

Apparent “culture of exorbitance” at TVNZ says committee

6 April 2000

Today the Commerce Committee presented it report to the House on the 1998/99 financial review of Television New Zealand Limited.

“Television New Zealand Limited is undergoing a major and overdue shift of governance and culture,” said Committee Chairperson David Cunliffe today.

“Salaries appear to reveal a “culture of exorbitance” within the organisation, created by a “self-generated ‘star’ system,” said David Cunliffe.

“Stricter governance procedures should minimise the risk of inappropriate staff contracts and investment decisions”, added David Cunliffe.

The committee says inadequate governance procedures resulted in decisions on remuneration being made at an inappropriate level in the organisation. This resulted in remuneration packages paid to newsreaders and presenters that appear to be out of kilter with public expectations. In particular, inadequate governance procedures contributed to a remuneration package being offered to John Hawkesby which TVNZ admitted was excessive and inappropriate.

Digital television is largely inevitable for TVNZ says the committee. However, the committee is concerned about inadequate governance procedures that led to the committal of $14.3 million to digital television before TVNZ obtained approval for the project.

“Governance structures at TVNZ need to be strengthened and the committee recommends the establishment of a Remuneration Committee and greater emphasis on project management and expenditure control,” said David Cunliffe.

“In other respects, performance was generally sound during the period under review, despite a recent fall in profitability,” added David Cunliffe.

The report is available from Parliament’s Bills Office or committee staff.


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