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TVNZ Report: Alleged Misconduct in Māori, Pacific Department

TVNZ Report into Alleged Misconduct within Māori And Pacific Programmes Department

12 May 2014

Executive Summary

1. The Panel found no bias in any of the Māori and Pacific programmes that it viewed. Similarly there was no evidence of bias in Mr Taurima’s Q+A interviews. It found no evidence that he or the other Labour Party members within the team influenced any TVNZ programming in a partisan way.

2. The Panel found that TVNZ resources, including a meeting venue, travel, email, telephone and photocopying resources were used inappropriately for Labour Party political purposes. The financial cost involved was negligible but, aside from this, it should not have happened. The Panel recommends that TVNZ seek reimbursement from Mr Taurima of the flight and taxi fare incurred for Ms Heni Tawhiwhirangi in the sum of $334.43.

3. The Panel found that Mr Taurima was involved in extensive Labour Party political activity soon after his return from the IkaroaRāwhiti byelection, and up until his resignation in February 2014. This breached TVNZ’s policy on conflicts of interest, and he should have disclosed these activities sooner and in more detail than he did. The Panel also found that TVNZ could have done more to enquire further.

4. The Panel recommends that:

• Those employees within TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs Department, whose roles require them to report, edit or produce political content cannot be members of political parties, or engage in political activity for a party or cause. This extends to news managers, the Chief Executive (as EditorinChief), the Head of News and Current Affairs and the Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs.

• Those employees within TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs Department, whose roles require them to report, edit or produce other news content must disclose membership of any political party, or involvement in any political activity for a party. This disclosure will necessitate a discussion about the person’s suitability to cover stories with a potential political angle.

• Those other employees within TVNZ’s News and Current Affairs Department do not need to disclose political party membership, but should disclose any activity beyond passive membership of any political party. This requirement should be extended to those reporting to Executive Team members, as well as those Executive Team members themselves.

• TVNZ’s conflicts of interest policies be expanded to ensure that these recommendations are included, and that advice and instructions contained in the TVNZ Journalists Manual be extended to cover all News and Current Affairs staff.

• The conflicts of interest registration process at TVNZ be managed centrally by the Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs, who would have responsibility for ensuring that relevant managers monitor and manage any potential conflicts.

[Full report: independentreport.pdf]

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