Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Events leading to resignation of TVNZ CEO

1 November 2005 Media Statement

Events leading to resignation of TVNZ CEO

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey today received a report from the Board of TVNZ explaining the circumstances of the resignation of CEO Ian Fraser.

"The Board's report explains the circumstances of his departure and makes it clear his resignation was the result of a difference of opinion between CEO and the Board regarding the process for negotiating senior presenter salaries," Steve Maharey said.

"It is unequivocally clear that there was no breach of the editorial independence protocol, enshrined in the 2003 TVNZ Act, nor was there any inappropriate interference in the day to day operations of the company.

"Having been reassured on this matter, I am confident the Board can now get on with appointing an Acting Chief Executive and begin the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive.

"TVNZ is an organisation that has continued to perform extremely well in a competitive environment. Under Ian Fraser, they have made the difficult transition from a Crown Company that was to be sold in the 1990s to a dynamic and profitable public service broadcaster."


The Report

1 November 2005

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Broadcasting
Parliament Buildings

Dear Minister

The Circumstances Of The Resignation Of Ceo Ian Fraser From Television New Zealand On 28 October 2005


Each year the Board and senior executives (Excom) of TVNZ in October hold a two day “strategic advance” to focus on the 2-5 year horizon. This year it was planned to be in Auckland on Thursday, 27 and Friday, 28 October.

The first day was a review of the development of digital television in New Zealand in terms of:

- public policy
- transmission proposals including a presentation by BCL
- first draft costed strategic plan.

The second day covered viewer research, channel positioning, competitive analysis and funding.

The first day is normally preceded by a short Board meeting - in this case to approve the annual report and accounts.

There was also a report back from the Chairman of the Remuneration & HR Committee - however that was held over until the morning of the second day. This required consideration by the Board of a recommendation for a News and Current Affairs employee contract of over $300,000 pa. The Board has, as part of its delegated authorities, retained the approval authority for contracts in excess of $300,000 pa payable to employees and individual contractors.

The CEO was advised during the discussions that the Board was of the view that he should be involved in discussions and contract negotiations with high profile presenters. The Board’s view was that this reflected his experience and his ability to relate to these people as a former presenter and that this should bring about the best results for the Company. The Board resolved that this should be discussed between the Chairman and CEO.

Events Leading up to the Resignation of the CEO

This suggestion was not accepted by the CEO. He left the building and did not return to participate in the Strategic Advance. Prior to his departure to Wellington he emailed to the Chairman a short note saying that he “intended to resign his position as CEO”.

The response of the CEO over this matter was totally unexpected by the Board.

Subsequent Events

On being informed the Board resolved to leave the matter for the Chairman to discuss with the CEO at a meeting planned in Auckland on Monday, 31 October. Events, however, subsequently overtook this with media speculation mounting. It was determined that “a press release” was required. In the event a joint release could not be agreed between TVNZ and the CEO and separate releases were made as follows:

Attachment 1

  • Can be found here in full -
  • TVNZ 30 October:

    “The Chairman of TVNZ Mr Craig Boyce announced today………”

    Attachment 2

  • Can be found here in full -

  • Ian Fraser, 30 October:

    “I can confirm that I told the Chairman of TVNZ on Friday that I intended to resign…..”

    The fourth paragraph of the CEO’s release read as follows -

    “The board of TVNZ is politically appointed. That makes it even more critical than it would be for a commercial board to stand well back from the day to day running of TVNZ, particularly our news and current affairs operation.”

    This caused such concern that a conference call of directors in the late afternoon of Sunday, 30 October determined that a further press release refuting the implication of board interference in editorial policy matters was released as follows:

    Attachment 3

  • Can be found here in full -
  • TVNZ, 30 October:

    “Following the statement released earlier today………”

    During discussion between the Chairman and CEO on Monday, 31 October Ian Fraser confirmed formally his resignation. It was also agreed that the CEO would make a further release.

    Attachment 4

  • Can be found here in full -
  • Ian Fraser, 31 October:

    “A clarification. I want to make it clear …….”

    Later in the morning of 31 October the Chairman and CEO agreed a short “way forward” press release as follows:

    Attachment 5

  • Can be found here in full -
  • TVNZ, 31 October:

    “The Chairman and CEO of TVNZ met this morning ……”

    In summary, the Board of TVNZ emphatically asserts that in its view it has never breached the rules relating to editorial independence as enshrined in the TVNZ Act. The Board also asserts it does not interfere with the day to day operations of the Company. It believes it understands and exercises proper governance.

    Yours sincerely

    Craig Boyce


    © Scoop Media

    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

    Gordon Campbell: On Australia's Superior Ways Of Communicating About Its Vaccine Rollout

    It isn’t only on the cricket field that Australia performs better. The clarity and degree of detail in Australia’s published schedule of the priorities for its vaccine rollout has been very impressive. Here for instance, is their initial “1a” top priority category: Quarantine and border workers, including: staff at entry points to the country (such as sea ports and land borders)... More>>


    Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

    Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>


    Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

    The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>


    Government: PHARMAC Review Announced

    The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today... More>>


    Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

    New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
    The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>

    Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

    Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
    The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

    NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

    If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

    Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

    New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>




    InfoPages News Channels