An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ

February 17th, 2014 at 10:27 pm by David Farrar

Patrick Gower at 3 News reported:

3 News can reveal state broadcaster is being used as a campaign base by Party activists.

They’ve even held a meeting in TVNZ’s Maori and Pacific Unit aimed at fundraising for Labour.

The unit’s manager, , has held ambitions to become a Labour MP and his staff have been arranging Labour Party business, using TVNZ facilities like email.

Mr Taurima has resigned following the revelation.

Mr Taurima’s a Labour Party activist. He could be standing as a Labour MP this election.

Documents obtained by 3 News show the state broadcaster is being used to help Labour’s cause.

Labour’s electorate committee for the Auckland Maori seat Tamaki Makarau has been using TVNZ as a base.

Last year, a meeting was held at the Maori and Pacific unit’s Hobson headquarters, next to TVNZ’s main building, with Labour Party activists swiped through security.

On the agenda was “fundraising” – making money for the Labour Party.

This is appalling and there must be a full independent inquiry into how this happened. Having the resources of the state broadcaster used to help the Labour Party fund raise and campaign plan is not far off political corruption.

This is not about the actions of Taurima alone. He was a known Labour Party aspiring candidate. TVNZ hired him back after he sought Labour’s nomination for Ikaroa Rawhiti. They knew his affiliations when they hired him back. Did they explicitly tell him he could not remain politically active?

There are so many questions about this, I don’t know where to start. Here’s a few.

  • How did TVNZ become aware of Labour Party use of their facilities?
  • Did they only take action once they became aware it would become public.
  • Why was Taurima not sacked, and allowed to resign?
  • Who at TVNZ knew about the Labour Party campaign meeting held at their offices, and who swiped all the activists through?
  • Who decided to rehire Taurima, after he quit to try and be the Labour candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti?
  • Was Taurima explicitly warned or counselled about political activity?
  • How many TVNZ Maori unit staff are Labour Party activists? At least four are known of, which destroys any notion that the TVNZ Maori Unit is delivering politically neutral programmes.
  • Did any Labour MPs attend the meeting at TVNZ premises? Did they not think this was wrong, if they did attend?
  • Was Labour Head Office aware that TVNZ was basically the host for their Tamaki Makarau branch?
  • Did David Cunliffe not think there was anything wrong with attending a sesssion on how to win the Maori vote, run by the head of the TVNZ Maori Unit? Should this not ring warning bells?

There must be a full external inquiry into this. Either the TVNZ Board must commission an independent inquiry into how this occurred, and how to prevent it happening again – or the Auditor-General should be asked to investigate.

UPDATE: A further story in Stuff reveals:

  • TVNZ only found out about this due to the TV3 story.
  • Taurima only resigned once the story came to light
  • TVNZ knew that Taurima wanted to seek Labour’s nomination for Tamaki Makaurau

This is a really bad call by TVNZ. They hired someone who had just weeks earlier been a Labour Party candidate, and who wanted to stand for Labour again at the next election. They never should have hired Taurima again. By doing so, they turned their Maori unit into a branch of the Labour Party.

No one would say that you can never return to broadcasting after being a candidate. Paul Henry stood for National in 1999, for example. But that was in his past when he went onto TVNZ. It is very different to hiring someone weeks after they have been a candidate – and when they are still planning to run again.

UPDATE2: Taurima has put out a press release:

It is with immense regret and sadness that I have resigned as General Manager of Māori and Pacific Programmes at TVNZ.

I love and respect the work of all my TVNZ colleagues and regret any damage that my actions may have had on them, and the incredibly important and quality work they do.

I have been a member of the Labour Party since I contested the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti candidacy in 2013.

I have attended party hui and fully accept that some of my actions in supporting Labour may be seen to have crossed the line and I apologise unreservedly.

I categorically deny that my political affiliations have had any influence on any editorial decision that I have made during this time or at any time in the more than 12 years that I have been honoured to work in many roles at TVNZ. However, questions have been raised that have brought into question the integrity of the crucial work of my colleagues at TVNZ. This is unfair and unacceptable and as a result I have resigned.

I respect that an internal investigation is underway into the actions of three of my former colleagues and my heart goes out to them at this time..

I have seen the word activist used to describe my now former work colleagues. They are not activists. They are passionate friends and people that I love and respect who committed to provide some support to me. They are wonderful people whose enthusiasm led to some poorly considered decisions. Decisions that were not to benefit them individually.. I do hope their actions do not impact on the passion, commitment and loyalty they each provide as valued employees of TVNZ.

I have made no decisions around my future and will be making no further comment at this time.

I apologise again for any damage or upset that my actions may have caused.

Taurima made some very bad judgement calls, as he admits. For me the real issue is that of TVNZ management. Did they hire him back without asking if he planned to stand again?

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94 Responses to “An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ”

  1. louie (96 comments) says:

    Time to sell TVNZ. All around the world the left seem to suborn and corrupt any state owned media to their own ends. Part of the ‘long march through the institutions’ I guess. We saw it starting to happen with TV7. Radio NZ are shocking, the weekend is one commie after another on the morning talk shows. I thought TVNZ was better until now. Sell baby sell.

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  2. ShawnLH (5,761 comments) says:

    Come on National, sell all state owned media!!!

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  3. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

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  4. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

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  5. burt (8,324 comments) says:

    Public broadcasting … Only public broadcasting would give editorial control to an aspiring Labour Party person. Sell it !

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  6. Nostalgia-NZ (5,283 comments) says:

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  7. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    And why does TVNZ have a Maori and Pacific Unit? Does it have a White Unit? Abolish the lot. Meanwhile Cunliffe had this to say:

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  8. Steve Taylor (211 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ:

    Green Party Co-Leader Russell Norman has nicely snookered himself and his party in the upcoming General Election, by lying about an Opposition Party Leader, Colin Craig.

    Norman claims that Colin Craig said that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and a gay man’s place is in the closet. Craig said neither, and Craig is now pursuing an action of defamation against Russell Norman.

    A successful defamation action requires that a statement is both defamatory (to lower a persons estimation in the eyes of the public), and a statement that has been publicised.

    Russell Norman may attempt “truth” or “honest opinion” as defences to the tort of defamation, however he would fail in both claims, as Norman stated the above commentary as a statement of fact – it is not.

    Like the six previous organisations and individuals who have attempted to defame Colin Craig to date, and who have subsequently had to eat copious amounts of humble pie as a result, Russell Norman would do well to rapidly consider an immediate retraction and apology to Colin Craig, otherwise lobbying for functionally discredited solar panels is going to be the least of Russell Norman’s political worries in 2014.

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  9. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

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  10. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    David Cunliffe is trying to distance himself from what is going to be massive fallout. But having attended the hui organized by Taurima, he is in this mess up to his taringa.

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  11. doggone7 (833 comments) says:

    This will be a real coup for the Labour Party. There will be so many heart attacks at the thought of some Labour lackeys meeting in the state broadcaster’s office their opposition ranks will be thinned dramatically. David Farrar will probably be so disgusted and appalled he will resign his membership of NZ Inc should his apoplexy not get him first. On the bright side if the room/s they used are in the building that is part of the SkyCity convention centre deal maybe they can name one of the new convention rooms as the Taurima Suite.

    But poor old Patrick will be a happy choppy. “….[A] full external inquiry into this. Either the TVNZ Board must commission an independent inquiry into how this occurred, and how to prevent it happening again – or the Auditor-General should be asked to investigate” will give him many more orgasmic opportunities!

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  12. Nostalgia-NZ (5,283 comments) says:

    Steve Taylor: Norman gave an example of Colin Craig’s position that could easily be called a general impression, or public perception, in a political sense. There isn’t a chance that is defamation. Putting it bluntly, it looks like Colin Craig has kicked an own goal, while additionally moving the focus from the poorly conceived dream about solar energy saving a small minority of electors a $100 a year, and thereby from a public issue by which Russell was hoisted by his own petard as recently as this morning. He most likely would be breathing a little easier.

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  13. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    The left-wing bias at TVNZ (and indeed at TV3, NZ Horrid etc etc) has been evident for years. It does not take the present disclosure to make this abundantly clear. I am much more concerned about their obvious preference for Labour in their news broadcasts than I am about use of TVNZ rooms.

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  14. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    Third worst week in politics, any where, any time: A few weeks ago when Labour lied about the Baby Bribe. Their leader was clueless about the policy. They wanted to ban Facebook and then changed their mind. They announced a neonatal policy that was identical to the government’s current scheme. And Cunliffe didn’t know how to spell Lorde’s name.

    Second worst week in politics, any where, any time: Norman and Peters both sold out NZ’s justice system in return for political favours. Peters lied about his secret meetings. Curran and Ardern had secret meetings too. And most of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens dressed themselves in tinfoil hats when they alleged GCSB were monitoring Winston Peters, when the “super secret” information they were concerned about was already in Whaleoil and the Herald.

    First worst week in politics, any where, any time: Cunliffe climbs on to the Moonbat Express when he implies that GCSB must be Whaleoil’s source, rather than a small army of irregularly paid and disgruntled Dotcom staff. And it turns out that the Labour Party have taken over TVNZ and run it for corrupt purposes. AND it is only Monday.

    The Labour – Greens – NZ First coalition is the reason Malcolm Tucker invented the word “omni-shambles”. Just when you think they can’t get any more corrupt, any more hopeless, or any more deranged… they pull out all the stops and take themselves to a whole new level of failure.

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  15. Jim (398 comments) says:

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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  16. double d (225 comments) says:

    davidp. classic!

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  17. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    Oh, and I’d expect the Labour Party to compensate TVNZ for the use of their buildings, e-mail system, and the staff cost of at least four party fundraisers at $200k a pop.

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  18. RightNow (7,013 comments) says:

    Paul Henry got to cover it. How serendipitous.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/TVNZ-Labour-scandal-How-did-management-not-know/tabid/1837/articleID/332588/Default.aspx

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  19. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

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  20. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    I’ve worked for both a state broadcaster and a political party. That the former would play host to the latter is astounding, regardless what hat I put on.

    As a journalist, I’d have had apoplexy if I’d seen colleagues holding a political meeting on the premises, regardless of the the party, as it’s a blatant compromise of the medium’s need for independence and even-handedness (which, like justice, not only needs to be done but which needs to be seen to be done).

    As a political operative I’d have had an equal case of apoplexy if a colleague had organised one there, lest a journalist blow the whistle!

    And yes, I’m somewhat embarrassed by my apparent naivety in this seemingly “anything goes” political environment :-/

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  21. RightNow (7,013 comments) says:

    Another bad week huh SPC? You wanna get some ointment for that forehead, I reckon you’ll be smacking it through November.

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  22. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    You got to laugh at the shear unbridled arrogance of the political left in this country. They’ve been wallowing around post Clark without the slightest clue in how to appeal to the average NZer, their tactics have simply never shifted from the “born to lead” model and the “good corruption is not corruption” ethos.

    Well fuck you!, until you pretentious arrogant born to lead pricks and prickess’s deal with the hubris among your ranks you will never be fit to lead a fucking dog let alone this great country of ours.

    May you all rot in the political hell that is of your own making.

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  23. kaykaybee (154 comments) says:

    Seldom I am gob smacked by much at all in the cat up tree thrust of NZ politics, but the idea that a state broadcaster rehired a political party aspirant and activist who seemingly has blithely gone about his partisan political activity while all the time having significant political influence on the manner in which political discussions were framed nationally is bizarre. Did TVNZ not have tabs on him or written, contractual restrictions on his political activity???? If not, why not?

    Senior heads need to roll at TVNZ, and a full enquiry held into the issue, including the level at which the Labour Party was involved.

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  24. tvb (4,519 comments) says:

    TVNZ got what they deserve when they hire a political activist with editorial CONTROL over TVNZ programming for maori. That was the first mistake. Now that the fox is in charge of the henhouse why should we not be surprised when that political activist organises political meeting and fund raising on TVNZ premises. The mistake was hiring Taurima in this role and then letting him rip.

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  25. Jim (398 comments) says:

    Damn straight Shunda and kaykaybee… very hard for Labour to spin this one into something pleasant.

    I see they are already working on the “Shane who???” line of defence:

    In a statement, Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth said Taurima was not a current office holder in the New Zealand Labour Party, nor has he been nominated to become a candidate.

    “This matter concerns the relationship between Shane Taurima and his former employer TVNZ. It is not appropriate to comment further.”

    [via Stuff]

    It’s disappointing for so many reasons, particularly that they didn’t save this for 8 months later in the year. I’m curious to see how Cunliffe will spin this. Maybe “David who???” will be Moira’s next line…

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  26. Steve Taylor (211 comments) says:

    Very simple reason why this happened – corporate cultural cringe. No-one at TVNZ seemingly had the courage to provide legitimate management control of the Maori & Pacific Island Unit, because to do so would have been deemed “racist” by the Unit Management. TVNZ is not the first institution to cower in the face of being called names, and it won’t be the last. It’s just pathetic the level of cowardice in this country in standing up to reverse-racist bullies in organisations, institutions, and agencies. If name-calling is all they have to present as an argument, then they have no argument. The difference between Paul Henry and Shane Taurima is that Paul Henry is overt and honest in his political position, whilst Taurima tried to sneak under the radar, enabled by corporate liberal fear. Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.

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  27. Allyson (47 comments) says:

    When a beaming Corrin Dann fawned at a meeting with Shearer and Norman that there could be our next PM’s, I knew he was both wrong, and hopelessly biased. I was correct on both. What a gobshite! Is not a long journey from bias to corruption is it?

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  28. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    SPC (4,135 comments) says:
    February 17th, 2014 at 11:19 pm
    “Norman claims that Colin Craig said that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and a gay man’s place is in the closet. Craig said neither, and Craig is now pursuing an action of defamation against Russell Norman.”

    Really? Did Norman make that claim? If not, are you and Craig defaming him?

    Can you demonstrate when and where the claim was made?

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Politicians-join-the-party-at-the-Big-Gay-Out/tabid/1607/articleID/331533/Default.aspx

    Dear SPC, Follow the link, click the video, watch from about 1.10.

    Would you like some cream for that burn?

    If you can’t last for 1.10, you only need to hang on for 20 seconds on this link!

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Greens-wont-back-down-against-Craig/tabid/370/articleID/332576/Default.aspx

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  29. Lindsay Addie (1,595 comments) says:

    Re selling TVNZ, why not sell it to the Labour Party?

    Wouldn’t bother me as I never watch their crap programmes anyway.

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  30. deadrightkev (538 comments) says:

    Sell, sell, sell.

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  31. jp_1983 (227 comments) says:

    slight thread jack.
    norman says we should have robust political debate.
    cries when turei gets similar treatment…. to craig

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  32. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    Makes you wonder what Pravda was doing for Hulun.

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  33. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  34. kiwi in america (2,511 comments) says:

    That senior TVNZ journalists are actively seeking to elect a Labour government comes as no surprise to anyone. The bias to the left is so insidious, long standing and institutionalized that I have no doubt that Cunliffe and the Tamaki Makaura Labour party members just assumed that they would never be pinged for this blatant conflict of interest. That TVNZ would re-hire Shane Taurima in such a senior role after he stood for Labour says all you need to know about managerial insensitivity towards the institutional pro Labour bias inside TVNZ.

    The delicious part about this revelation is that those on the right don’t have to worry as much as usual as to whether the MSM will bury the story because TV3 will pursue this to the nth degree on purely commercial, competitive grounds to make life uncomfortable for their main competitor. To paint TVNZ as hopelessly politically biased just as we move into the election season is ratings gold! As david p says another bad, terrible, horrible not good week for Team Cunliffe.

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  35. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    KIA it is not new that journo’s tend to be left leaning. Comes with the pay scale.

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  36. slightlyrighty (2,476 comments) says:

    So what will the result be of this scandal. One would hope that networks will be falling over themselves to appear neutral because of the now open left wing bias. The networks will be far less likely to run stories that paint Labour in a good light, but to be fair, that was getting harder to do anyway.

    This can only be good for the government.

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  37. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    @ SPC (12.24am) – embarrassed much? Even your defence of this rort is lukewarm.

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  38. deadrightkev (538 comments) says:

    An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ?

    Its not the first time. I recall watching two Sunday programs in which a certain presenter was allowed to romp over the subject with not as much as a jot of investigative journalism from the MSM or blogosphere for that matter.

    Its time to sell.

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  39. radvad (772 comments) says:

    Amazing, the Whale has been scooped.

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  40. flipper (4,241 comments) says:

    appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ
    February 17th, 2014 at 10:27 pm by David Farrar

    ******

    Back to the subject. KIA has brought us mostly back, but there are other aspects that need scrutiny.

    There is NO PLACE in ANY MSM News room for political activists …. or those with a declared political bias.

    TVNZ’s producers, do not whisper “sweet nothings” in the ears of the children fronting news shows. (The popsies are wet behind the ears and reserve their angry face for anyone of centre-right persuasion. The most recent addition to TVNZ’s breakfast team, a seeming teen age bint, was an absolute embarrassment when attempting to “grill” John Key yesterday… But I digress.)

    Producers? The very worst example is Watkin who has driven Q + A and now drives other news shows.

    The frequency with which ex TVNZ staffers convert to Labour staff positions, or seek candidate selection (Faafoi is the most recent example), is quite appalling.

    But unless radical surgery is immediately imposed, TVNZ will continue as it has from the days of Edwards, Walker and others (Beatson?). And in that respect it will be no different from Red Radio New Zealand, the BBC and/or the ABC. Apropos the latter, a survey after the last Australian General Election found that almost 95 per cent (95%) of ABC news and current affairs staff voted Labour or Green . That was by their own declarations.

    So while we are at it, think about the extraordinary influence that the red melon greens exercise in the MSM !!!!!

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  41. flash2846 (289 comments) says:

    How is John Campbell going to cope with this? Juicy fodder for TV3 but totally against Campbell’s political bias. Suffer Campbell you Tossa!

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  42. Monty (980 comments) says:

    Helen Clark built TVNZ into a broadcaster in her own image. Over nine years she manipulated TVNZ from a left wing broadcaster ( with a few token righties for “balance” into an extreme left wing broadcaster.

    The left have always had a strong sense of entitlement, so why should we be surprised at this revelation. What I’m interested in now is the reaction and actions of the National Party. Who is the minister of broadcasting?

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  43. NK (1,259 comments) says:

    Jeez, and this is when Labour is in opposition. Imagine the meetings and corruption if they were in charge!

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  44. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    One would hope that networks will be falling over themselves to appear neutral because of the now open left wing bias.

    If they were going to do that, all the newsrooms round the country would resemble Jonestown because that would be the lefties preferred fate rather than appear to be neutral over the hated tories especially in election year. Election year is why they became journalists in the first place. Not to spread sunlight but to spread disinfectant so their beloved chosen ones can righteously triumph and rule uber alles, as they so justly deserve. I’m not kidding. This is why all the organs – radio, print and TV – report as they do.

    The reports on this will pretend they think it’s dreadfully disgraceful, it was isolated to this single unit in this single organisation and it will never ever happen again. By next month when all the sheeple have quite forgotten about ‘that thing what happened at the Maori news,’ normal transmission will recommence and the memes, the lies and the nuances will once again spew forth as the lefties journalists resume their vocation to defeat the hated tories and install the loving chosen ones.

    Helen Clark built TVNZ into a broadcaster in her own image.

    It was already like that when she got there. She just ‘helped it along.’

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  45. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    The left have always had a strong sense of entitlement

    As well as a long and strong history of involvement in propaganda which they’re very good at and which dates back to the Soviet era. Seriously, if you wanted to cleanse leftists from journalism you really truly would need to fire 95% of them and the same proportion of managers and technical people. They’re attracted to it like flies to a corpse and they infest it.

    I’ve always wondered if this is because their policies stink so badly that no-one would ever vote for them if they looked at the facts rather than at the lipstick so carefully and craftily applied by the minions.

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  46. big bruv (14,165 comments) says:

    How the hell is this news? Anybody with half a brain knows that TVNZ is a hive of stinking lefties.

    While I am glad that another trougher has resigned it does make me wonder why the hell we have state funded broadcasters at all. The Nat’s should sell the lot.

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  47. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    Labour distances itself from Taurima

    Labour’s party president Moira Coatsworth said in a statement Mr Taurima was not a current officeholder in the party, and had not been nominated to become a candidate.

    “This matter concerns the relationship between Shane Taurima and his former employer TVNZ,” she said.

    And Labour leader David Cunliffe said he didn’t have knowledge of the meetings.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Labour-distances-itself-from-Taurima/tabid/423/articleID/332596/Default.aspx

    Cunliffe can’t run fast enough to get enough distance on this.

    The Standard has so far maintained a very big distance from this. But ignoring it won’t make it go away. Ironically they have just been going mental about NZ Herald being associated with National (at the Nines).

    Just another Labour disaster, but this one could be a biggy.

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  48. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    The Standard has so far maintained a very big distance from this.

    Watch them move rapidly into dissembly mode once they get their strategy agreed and then all the organs across the board will vigorously pretend it’s an isolated incident amidst a cloud of manufactured outrage at the “disgraceful unprofessionalism.”

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  49. Lindsay Addie (1,595 comments) says:

    Just wondering, when is Parliament due to sit again? Question time and the general debate could be interesting…..

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  50. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    And Labour leader David Cunliffe said he didn’t have knowledge of the meetings.

    What bollocks. Cunliffe was at the hui that Taurima organised. The Labour leader is donkey-deep in this.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/the-tvnzlp-affair.html

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  51. Goldsmith (27 comments) says:

    Whats new? The Labour Party run their politics from inside every Maori & Pacific organisation that is overseen by a thick Labour supporting hack. Investigate the whole lot of them!

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  52. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    TVNZ- Is anyone really surprised?? Considering their star reporter is Sue Bradford Jnr…

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  53. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9732605/Labour-links-at-TVNZ-revealed

    Labour is expected to run a high profile candidate in the Tamaki Makaurau seat, which it considers it has a good chance of wresting off the Maori Party with the retirement of co-leader Pita Sharples.

    There has also been speculation about broadcaster Julian Wilcox as a possible contender but Mr Taurima was seen to have the inside running with some party officials.

    It’d be very very interesting to see the detailed history of any and all political activism by every single journalist in the country. I believe you’re not allowed into the Police force if you’ve got a conviction. Why shouldn’t a similar rule apply to journalists?

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  54. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Why the surprise? The MSM is Left-biased.

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  55. kiwi in america (2,511 comments) says:

    Mark
    Agreed – what is new is using the premises and resources of the state owned broadcaster and the time of its paid employees to hold meetings to favour the election of a particular party.

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  56. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    TVNZ- Is anyone really surprised?? Considering their star reporter is Sue Bradford Jnr…

    Longknives – I’m not aware of Katie Bradford having any political affiliation. Are you?

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  57. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    Watch them move rapidly into dissembly mode…

    It has been slow so far. The Standard has the air of a stunned silence.

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  58. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Holy shit.

    Bias in their reporting you can at least see with your own eyes.

    This is next level corruption…

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  59. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    KIA not saying that it is acceptable but this fellow has broken the rules, has essentially and quite rightly been fired. I am sure that JK and National would like to blow it up a bit to have labour look like they are scrambling but it is hardly necessary, Labour do that adequately enough on their own. I would much rather National foucsed on exposing the flawed thinking in Labour policy than bugger around on side shows like this.

    This story is just next weeks fish and chip paper

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  60. burt (8,324 comments) says:

    Reid

    Why shouldn’t a similar rule apply to journalists?

    Because it’s a state broadcaster. The mouthpiece of the gummit.

    Sell it FFS – having the government own a broadcaster is a legacy of the high capital cost associated with establishing the network in the good old days – it’s not a problem now – get rid of it !

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  61. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Pete George – well if Katie follows the family tradition of moving a full click to the left with each generation, Mana might almost be left enough to interest her.

    (But you are right, we really have no idea, only BS!)

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  62. flipper (4,241 comments) says:

    Lindsay Addie (1,097 comments) says:

    February 18th, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Just wondering, when is Parliament due to sit again
    *************

    2pm, February 18, 2014 – TODAY. :-)

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  63. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    Not a particularly big deal imo, though both Labour and TVNZ do come out of it looking hopelessly incompetent. Possibly more of a boost to the Maori party than to anyone else.

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  64. wreck1080 (3,972 comments) says:

    This goon also writes like a 6 year old so how on earth did he land such a high level job?

    I did this.

    I did that.

    I like stuff….

    I I I…..

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  65. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    “Longknives – I’m not aware of Katie Bradford having any political affiliation. Are you?”

    My fucking God Pete. Give yourself a slap….

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  66. Chris2 (770 comments) says:

    This affairs begs the question: if it happening at TVNZ, could it also be happening at Maori TV (and by this I mean support for Labour, or the Maori Party or the Mana Party?).

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  67. jp_1983 (227 comments) says:

    http://www.ssc.govt.nz/political-neutrality-guidance

    Does this apply to workers in State Owned Enterprises?
    Would be interested to see what people think.

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  68. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    Longknives, since you first started whining about Katie Bradford, I’ve kept an eye on her reporting which seems largely professional and neutral.

    Lotta you righty types really are just as paranoid as your lefty counterparts.

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  69. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    @ Scott Chris – I guess that Katie Bradford can’t help looking like a younger version of her mother :P

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  70. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    I can assure you Scott that TVNZ Management are currently thinking this is a very big deal, the non existent oversight of the Maori Pacific unit is very disturbing, watch as more heads roll and Liabour squirms with each new headline.

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  71. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    I’ve just asked Katie Bradford “Do you have any political affiliations? Can you please advise.” She has replied:

    @katiebradford
    Not at all. My work speaks for itself.

    I haven’t seen any indication of obvious political bias from her.

    I think it’s unfair to criticise her or anyone for anything they have no influence over – especially judging them on other family members.

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  72. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    Because it’s a state broadcaster. The mouthpiece of the gummit. Sell it FFS…

    I think privatisation or not is a red herring. As we all know TV3 News is as left as they come so clearly state ownership isn’t the root cause of this issue.

    The root cause of this is the fact that journalists are allowed to be unprofessional and unethical, if you regard journalistic ethics as including the requirement to report the facts as facts and nothing else, no spin, no gilding the lily, nothing else. Some may say objective reporting is difficult to define but my response is, we all know it when we see it so clearly it is definable, even if it may be subtle.

    But why shouldn’t journalists be bound to an enforceable code of ethics just like engineers, architects, lawyers, accountants, company directors, teachers etc are? Why shouldn’t the public be allowed to report things like last year’s Campbell interview with Len to some kind of official body which had the power to sanction journalists and fine their organisations, up to and including baring them from their profession if they have repeat offences.

    No politician wants to set it up because all their policy wonks no doubt go on and on and on about the difficulty of defining bias if the incumbent Minister ever asks for a report on this proposition. But the politicians aren’t the ones on the receiving end, we are. Not sure about you but I’ve had a gutsful of the blatant ubiquitousness of it not because I can’t see straight through it and personally ignore it but because I know that for every one of me there are a thousand slack-jawed yokels out there just lapping it up and believing every bullshit word of it.

    This infestation affects our democracy. If we had sunlight all over the place, the country would be a heck of a lot better off. If I was able to report Mary Wilson’s idiotic braying interview with Colin Craig last night to some official body who had the power to force her to publicly apologise or even withdraw her license to practice journalism, I bloody well would, in a heartbeat. Same as I would like to be able to report some of Mathew Hooten’s biased crap as well.

    We do it for all sorts of other professions. Why is journalism different? Why do we allow so called professionals to subtly and not so subtly influence our democracy with narry a word raised in protest?

    And BTW, the BSA clearly isn’t the answer. It’s been happening since forever. Even widening their brief to include bias if it isn’t already, won’t work. We need something fresh, something that cannot be manipulated and have a patsy installed at the top, which is the first appointment Liarbore would make if we ever get such a body.

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  73. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    I think privatisation or not is a red herring. As we all know TV3 News is as left as they come so clearly state ownership isn’t the root cause of this issue.

    Indeed… but then, private broadcasters are free to root for whomever they please. A State broadcaster SHOULD be set up in a way that it is STRICTLY independent of the government and all political parties.

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  74. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Oh dear, and where are all those high minded journalists who so vociferously defended the Fourth Estate in the form of one A Vance last year. We were all lectured on how the press provided a safeguard through objective reporting. Now we find proven that which was evident, other than to the deaf, dumb and blind and to journalists, that the media are biased. Furthermore TVNZ that supposed bastion of objectivity (excuse me whilst I vomit) appears to be a hotbed of lefties using their employers resources to promote their aims. The board and CEO should be fired immediately. So much for objectivity and balance.

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  75. william blake (109 comments) says:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/about/board-profile

    What about these guys, in terms of political neutrality and responsibility?

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  76. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    I stated on here some time ago that anyone in a position of influence in media, must divulge their political involvement with any party, and this elucidates exactly, what will continue to occur. As the left are continually short of funds, due to living lives of envy, not production, they will leech from anywhere, preferable the right, to further their goals. When one reads article by Cummings, editor of Manawatu’s Standard, it is evident that print media has some real Labour activists, along with radio and Tv. We then have to look at Bradford, Soper, Espiners, Campbells, McCarten, etc., they are real bad cases of left-leaning promotion.

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  77. Reid (16,638 comments) says:

    private broadcasters are free to root for whomever they please

    The question is, should they be? Journalism deals with a real substance just like any other profession. The substance they deal with is not visible but it has real effects in terms of people’s opinions and behaviour. In that sense it’s similar to computer code which isn’t visible except to those versed in it, but nevertheless its effects are.

    Because journalists deal with real results in the real world, I don’t see them as being different in any way from any other profession, be it a computer programmer, someone who erects buildings, someone who heals people, etc etc etc.

    But they’re the only profession that isn’t subject to legal sanction if they chose to perform behind the scenes manipulation that results in people acting on their lies. A programmer who inserts a backdoor so they can steal something is. An engineer who builds something with inadequate materials so they can increase their profit is. A doctor who knowingly or even unwittingly damages a human is. What’s different about journalistic ideas that result in actual behaviour not just at the ballot box but in say, the national opinion on the govt of the day’s policy on asset sales? That’s something that has a real answer in the real world. Somewhere in the economic sciences there is a real, hard, actual answer to ‘what is the correct answer’ on that asset sale question. But the general public have little to zero chance of ever discovering it while journalists continue to spin their stories on that subject using nothing more than blatant propaganda techniques. Why shouldn’t we be able to have a body with the power to order journalists to cease their ideological spinning of that issue and order them to point the public to the places where they can learn what the real pros and cons are as opposed to what the pros and cons are in the worthless opinion of the journalist whose reporting on it?

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  78. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    “Labour leader David Cunliffe told RNZ this morning he was not aware until yesterday that a Labour Party meeting had been held at a TVNZ office.”

    Has he not been accused of actually attending the meetings? Lapse of memory? Any evidence?

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  79. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (895 comments) says:

    Storm in a tea cup. Cunliffe has denied that the venue was a TVNZ office. So take his word for it and move on bros. Not a dent in Labour’s popularity.

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  80. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    RRM: Once Paul Henry takes over Campbell’s spot, there will be a marked change in Tv3 composition. Sooner this happens the better, and I hear it is on the cards, as Campbell is losing ad support by the shitloads.

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  81. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    Labour is spinning so desperately that we should rig up a dynamo to them. Would produce more salable electricity than hectares of subsidized solar panels.

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  82. big bruv (14,165 comments) says:

    I note that some people have tried to drag John Campbell into this. Don’t get me wrong, I detest Campbell, to me he is the very epitome of what I hate about the left (and the chardonnay left he so perfectly represents)

    The point is that Campbell works for a private company, one that can have what ever political allegiances it likes. TV3 can hire Sue Bradford and Keith Locke for all I care, that is there right given their private ownership.

    So while I detest Campbell for his lies, half truths and blatant bias toward anybody from the left I will defend him on this issue.

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  83. Pete Burdon (19 comments) says:

    As a media trainer, clients often think that reporters are bias against them. I always say reporters are bias in favour of the best story angle. When I see stories like this, I sometimes wonder.

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  84. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Taurima’s ‘apology’ not good enough. Clearly an attempt to shelter his fellow travellers.

    Taurima was in editorial control for heaven’s sake. This man was not a low level flunkey. Questions, very serious and probing ones need to be asked as to why he was in this role? Who appointed him to that role?

    Given the number of TVNZ ‘journalists’ who have transitioned to Labour, eg Faafoi, Mutch, Taurima then it is not surprising many suspect TVNZ News and Current Affairs is projected through a red/green lens. This is especially true, in my opinion, of programmes where the likes of Tim Watkin hold sway, e.g. the parade of left views on Q & A, where Taurima was a lead interviewer.

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  85. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    “I’ve just asked Katie Bradford “Do you have any political affiliations? Can you please advise.” She has replied:

    @katiebradford
    Not at all. My work speaks for itself.”

    Boy you really had her on the ropes with that interrogation Pete! You should consider becoming a hard-hitting Investigative Journalist..

    “I haven’t seen any indication from Katie. In fact I suspect Katie tries harder than most journalists to be politically neutral.”

    Sweet Jesus Pete- I’ve warned you before about hitting the cooking Sherry so early in the day…

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  86. Manolo (14,086 comments) says:

    “I’ve just asked Katie Bradford “Do you have any political affiliations? Can you please advise.”

    Sharper than a razor.
    Jeremy Paxmann and Christopher Hitchens would be proud of such incisive question from P.G.

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  87. Fairfacts Media (372 comments) says:

    I wonder what role Fran Mold has played in this scandal.
    What does she know?
    She’s still Cunliffe’s chief of staff, isn’t she?
    Surely, she should have been aware of the goings on?
    Surely, she should have known and warned there would be trouble if it all came to light?

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  88. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Mold, Mutch, Espiners, Soper, all complicit in distorting anything of news into a favourable left-wing format.

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  89. greenjacket (487 comments) says:

    davidp: Best comment of the day.
    And the omnishambles can only get worse as I see Cunliffe has lost ANOTHER member of his staff. (Though given the standard of Labour’s research and analysis in recent years, the loss key staff from their Research Unit may actually improve things!)

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  90. thedavincimode (6,880 comments) says:

    why not sell it to the Labour Party

    Classic Lindsay.

    Of course in reality, this highly amusing revelation should come as no surprise to anyone who has observed the complete lack of impartiality and the degree of low rent spin emanating from TVNZ, so there is no need for the faux indignation.

    Focus instead on the fact that once more, Cunners is caught with his trousers around his ankles. One minute he accused Key of spying on political opponents (after, as others pointed out, bucket-guts Williams went to Melbourne and gratuitously threw mud, and others dug through Key’s rubbish bin, and then … nek minnut …

    Too funny. Is anyone keeping score – must be about 20 – zip to Key?

    Edit: looks like davidp is. Please keep up the excellent work. :lol:

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  91. DJP6-25 (1,389 comments) says:

    They’ve never been neutral.

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  92. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    @ Fairfacts- Fran Mold exited with Shearer. She was his CoS, not Cunliffe’s

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  93. BeeJay (72 comments) says:

    Is it just Maoris who think they can do what they like? Wherever some of them finish up in senior positions (“some” being the operative word, certainly not all) wherever it might be, they seem to think that because they are Maori that they have some god given right to take the piss out of the rest of us and abuse their position, do what they like, when they like, just because they were earlier immigrants than the rest of us! For me, I’ve had a gutsfull and the sooner they realize the free ride is over the better! Taurima is a disgrace, although TVNZ management should get the arse for allowing this to have happened. There should not be a “Maori” or “Pacific” unit, they should get involved in being kiwis or piss off back to wherever they came from!

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  94. doggone7 (833 comments) says:

    BeeJay; “Is it just Maoris who think they can do what they like?”

    No, most people at some stage try to feather their own nests and take liberties with they think they can get away with. It’s having the cleverness and sophistication to escape legal niceties. Witness the Government’s dealings with SkyCity. See “National’s brushing aside of electoral commission advice an act of self-interest which diminishes our democracy.”

    You do what you do, hope you don’t get caught and should be prepared to ride out any storm. (Bill Clinton.) In a docile country like NZ you expect that most people will be too busy with their own lives and too apathetic to do anything to criticise and create a fuss. That’s a gap exploited by people like Cameron Slater. When someone on tv asks politicians ‘hard’ questions there’s an outcry. A clear example at the moment is Crusher Collins,sob sob, crying about Taurima’s unfair interviews.

    As for the God given right to take the piss out of us … watch Parliament.

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