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TVNZ finally admits Bill English promo wrong

18 November 2009
Media Statement

TVNZ finally admits Bill English promo wrong

Television New Zealand has finally admitted that it got it wrong in creating the Bill English promo for its TVNZ7 series on the economy, says Labour Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe said that TVNZ Head of Corporate Affairs Peter Parussini told today’s Finance and Expenditure Committee meeting today that it was now accepted internally at TVNZ that the broadcaster should not have produced the ads in the form they were initially aired.

“I am pleased that TVNZ now accepts there was a serious misjudgement on their part, but there was an even more serious misjudgement on the part of shareholding minister Bill English,” David Cunliffe said.

“Mr English knew the promo was editorially unbalanced, and yet he gleefully went along with the campaign. Further, he made extensive changes to the text when he was given the opportunity by TVNZ.

“This is a disgraceful way for a shareholding minister to act, but given his track record this year for showing poor judgement, no one should be surprised.”

David Cunliffe said he was astonished that there appeared to be no process in place at TVNZ for the marketing department to consult with the news and current affairs department on sensitive advertising material relating to the shareholding minister.

“This is utterly unacceptable. Editor-in-chief Rick Ellis says TVNZ does so many promos each week he doesn’t have time to look at them, but surely there should be a hard-and-fast rule relating to shareholding ministers.

“In the case of advertising involving ministers, given the obligation on TVNZ to be impartial, it is surprising that the TVNZ board has also not satisfied itself that appropriate processes are in place.

“Mr Ellis concedes this promo could not have been run as a freebie in election year. The fact is, however, that this promo should never have been run as a freebie for a shareholding minister in any year, and Mr English showed an appalling lack of ethical judgement in aiding and abetting the broadcast.”

ENDS

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