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TVNZ Defends Hawkesby Contract

29 January 2000


For immediate release

TVNZ have come out strongly in defence of their termination of John Hawkesby’s news presenter company contract a year ago.

TV newsreader John Hawkesby joined TVNZ as a news presenter in January 1999 and read the news for 24 days before having his contract terminated by TVNZ.

Since then the parties have been in dispute, and an arbitration process was completed late last year. The arbitrator has made an award to John Hawkesby’s company and TVNZ says that unfortunately John Hawkesby has today turned down TVNZ’s offer to make all of the arbitration proceedings public and therefore TVNZ is bound by confidentiality as to the figure and details of the award.

Television New Zealand filed appeal in the High Court in Auckland on Friday. It is now for the High Court to determine if the Notice of Appeal will be public.

“We believe the arbitration award has serious flaws in it”, said Mr. Rick Ellis, Chief Executive of TVNZ.

In relation to media comments today by employment lawyers, TVNZ says the comments are erroneous as this was a dispute over a commercial contract not an employment contract.

Rick Ellis confirmed that the contract deal was driven by the then Head of Television, Neil Roberts when he was still with TVNZ, and Mr Ellis stated that the Board and management had some time ago put in place systems and procedures to ensure that a commercial presenter contract of that magnitude on those terms could not be entered into again.


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