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Biased Bill English promo pulled off air

29 October 2009 Media Statement

Biased Bill English promo pulled off air

Labour Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe has welcomed TVNZ’s back down over its biased promo featuring Bill English, and their decision to pull the promo off air by the end of the week.

“This promo for a series of economic programmes was a thinly-disguised taxpayer-funded advertisement for Bill English,” David Cunliffe said.

“Bill English clearly knew the advertisement would be controversial, but he allowed his vanity, ego and poor sense of judgment to take over --- not for the first time. He should have refused to be part of the exercise. Instead he thought it ‘looked quite good’, and he took no steps to prevent any conflict of interest as a shareholding minister.

“While TVNZ claims there was no intent for the promo to be political, for anyone watching it looked exactly like a party political broadcast. It is significant that TVNZ did not consult its news staff before the promo went to air.

“TVNZ originally stated they planned to run the promo of Bill English 135 times. It will end up playing 65 times. That’s still too many, but at least they are pulling the plug. TVNZ also said that they had no intention of doing an alternative promo, but now they’ve changed their mind on that too,” David Cunliffe said.

“Independent commentators have quite rightly slammed TVNZ’s performance over this issue. There are serious questions about the processes it used.

“Bill English’s lapse of judgment now forms part of a broader pattern that has seen his credibility and public standing badly damaged.”

ENDS

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