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News Flash - Hawkesby Payout - 5.2 Million

Court documents released today revealed that sacked newsreader John Hawkesby was awarded over 5.2 million dollars in an arbitration pay-out with state owned broadcaster Television New Zealand.

The news was made public by a High Court Judge, Justice Robertson who ruled the details of the arbitration settlement could be released for public viewing as they were not covered by a confidentiality clause.

After eight percent is added, for the time Hawkesby remained unemployed since his sacking, the total figure he is awarded is closer to the $5.8 million dollar sum widely speculated on by the media.

TVNZ lawyers had originally argued against publication of the amount, reasoning that details of the case would cause a public upheaval, while Hawkesby's lawyers had urged the Judge to make the sum known.

Both sides switched positions in late January this year after the dispute turned acrimonious with broadcaster TVNZ announcing it would challenge the ruling.

During the latest hearing TVNZ has argued Hawkesby's pay-out be held in a trust fund for the duration of their appeal, saying it could have difficulty recovering the money should it be successful.

But, the judge has agreed to award the money to Hawkesby provided he keeps it secure until the appeal is over.

Hawkesby joined Television New Zealand in January 1999 and read the news for under a month before he was sacked after his ratings plummeted.

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