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Ian Fraser's punishment outrageous

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman

3 February 2006

Ian Fraser's punishment outrageous

The punishment meted out to TVNZ's former chief executive for speaking at a parliamentary select committee is simply outrageous and cannot be allowed to stand, says National Finance spokesman John Key.

Mr Fraser has reportedly been stripped of his remaining duties at TVNZ after what the board considered was his "serious misconduct" by speaking out at the select committee inquiry.

"The board's reaction is not only inconsistent with the way its members reacted when they breached appropriate governance protocol, but it should send a chill down the spine of every MP.

"This reeks of political interference. I'm aghast at this outrageous move.

"TVNZ's dual objectives of profit and charter obligations were clearly failing. Ian Fraser was speaking out about that and he shouldn't be punished for it.

"This sends a chilling message to anyone appearing before a select committee - even if they've been subpoenaed.

"All MPs, no matter what political stripes they have, should be extremely concerned about this move by the TVNZ board.

"If this behaviour by the board is allowed to go unchecked, it will in effect neuter Parliament's future ability to hold inquiries into any entity that is in any way related to the Government. That simply can't be in the best interests of Parliament or our country.

"It's like saying if you go to court and give evidence, and someone doesn't like it, you will be punished.

"I will be writing to the Clerk of the House, Dave McGee, to ask for a ruling on this. This behaviour by the board directly challenges the governance responsibility Parliament has for Government activities and will make a mockery of any future parliamentary inquiry."

ENDS

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