Posts Tagged ‘TVNZ’

Veitch affair: TVNZ lets itself off the hook

August 22, 2008

John Drinnan reports in this morning’s media column that TVNZ is keeping its report into its handling of the Veitch affair secret. A spokesperson says it is an “internal report” and will be considered by the TVNZ board of directors and TVNZ shareholding minister Trevor Mallard. And no-one else.

So there you are. How much did TVNZ execs know about the events that saw Veitch’s former partner hospitalised and seven charges laid against Veitch?

We’re expected to accept TVNZ’s assurances that, “it had already been found that staff at a TVNZ meeting with Veitch acted properly.” Russell McVeigh  completed the report for TVNZ.

But that may not be it. Drinnan tells us that, “The Herald has also made applications under the [Official Information Act], which were rejected by TVNZ.” Don’t stop there Granny. There’s clearly a story here.

Fine-tuning National’s broadcasting policy

July 16, 2008

Got to last night’s media7 taping. The subject was National’s broadcasting policy. South Pacific Pictures’ John Barnett and Christchurch Broadcasting School head Paul Norris joined National’s broadcasting spokesman Jonathan Coleman.

It was interesting to see important National policy clarified, and what looked suspiciously like policy-making on the hoof. Russell Brown posts on the most news-worthy bits, which I’ve held off posting about as I was there as a member of the audience only.

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Compensation for Veitch?

July 13, 2008

Well, turns out that TVNZ executives were told last December of Veitch’s “assault”.

That word “assault” comes from this morning’s HoS headline, although it is not supported by anything in the story. It raises an important point. What did Veitch tell his bosses (four of them were told)? Why is this so important?

First, if an employer condones a particular behaviour, then it can’t reasonably expect to be able to dismiss at some later point for that behaviour. By ignoring the behaviour, the employer is accepting that it’s okay.

Underlying dismissal with cause for misconduct, non-performance or dishonesty is that the employer can no longer trust the employee, and rely on them to do their job honestly and competently.

Further, if it was an assault, they arguably became complicit in covering up a criminal offence.

Assuming that the TVNZ executives knew something like the full extent of the matter, but proceded to sack Veitch anyway, MacDoc raises the question of whether Veitch might be awarded compensation (and reimbursed for lost wages) should any dismissal by TVNZ be found to be unjustified.

This is technically possible. But note that the courts are required by the Employment Relations Act to take into account the extent to which the claimant contributed to the situation which led to their dismissal. And, as a practical matter, I wouldn’t want to be the one determining how much of the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings Veitch might suffer was the result of any dismissal.

Why does there not appear to have been a clause in the contract of this high profile “personality”, whose value to TVNZ depends on public popularity, for just this sort of situation? There should be, and if there is, then dismissal ought not to be a problem.

In any event, it is clear that at the very least there needs to be an enquiry into the response of TVNZ last year. Ideally, we might see some resignations before then.

Memo to TVNZ: Removing Veitch from the Olympic coverage team is not  enough.

Update: The Government has started asking questions. PM Clark says that there is a “moral crisis” at TVNZ, and Mallard is refusing to be fobbed off with a whitewash. Looks like some heads may roll at TVNZ, after all.]

Veitch must go

July 12, 2008

This  morning’s Herald reports the views of several employment law experts that TVNZ has sufficient grounds to sack Veitch. This has been my view as well, although my expertise in employment law is undoubtedly less extensive.

It is true that TVNZ would have to give Veitch an opportunity to explain himself, and would need to investigate any matters that Veitch raised. That’s called “natural justice”, and we would all be poorer if we didn’t follow these principles in our legal and employment dealings. The idea that TVNZ would have to “[consider] alternative posts” is a new one for me, and I’m inclined to disregard that.

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Veitch — Will justice be done?

July 10, 2008

The broad outlines of Tony Veitch’s assault on his former partner are now becoming clear. So are some very disturbing issues about the way that domestic violence and celebrity crime  are treated in this country.

Rather than reporting a serious crime to the proper authorities, Veitch’s lawyers seem to have colluded in an attempt to cover it up by buying the victim’s silence. Don’t lawyers have any responsibilities to see justice done?

Paul Litterick has suggested, “Let’s make pies of [Veitch] and then force-feed him to his lawyers”; or perhaps, name and shame the lawyers if we’re too squeamish. I don’t think I’d go quite as far as using this particular recipe for humble pie, but can’t those involved in the attempted cover-up be charged with obstructing justice?

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