Editorials on Veitch

By coincidence the three major dailies have all done their editorials today on Tony Veitch.

Before I summarise them, I’ll give my 2c. I don’t think the two broadcasters are the decision makers here. I think the decision will be made for them by their staff and public. When even Matthew Ridge is saying he may not want to appear on TV with him, you have a problem. How many female TVNZ employees would be willing to help produce shows for Veitch? How many sporting stars will want to appear on a show with him joking about? Regardless of what is fair, a return to television anyway is impossible for some time. The public won’t want to watch, and their own staff won’t want to produce.

Anyway we’ll start with the Dom Post which takes the hardest line:TVNZ has only one option over broadcaster and woman-beater Tony Veitch. It must terminate his contract and say he will never work for the state broadcaster again, writes The Dominion Post.

No beating around the bush there.

Quite apart from TVNZ’s hypocrisy in employing him while airing advertisements that say it is not okay, ever, to beat up a partner or family member, having Veitch in living rooms nightly and fronting its team is unacceptable. His TVNZ career should be over.

Questions of what TVNZ knew may become the bigger issue if it emerges they did know in advance.

The Press looks at the victim:

The Tony Veitch case is a tragedy not for Veitch but for the woman he assaulted, writes The Press in an editorial.

She suffered severe physical injuries from his attack and had her career disrupted; her mental anguish must have been intense. He has maintained his lucrative work and still holds his positions with Television New Zealand and The Radio Network.

One can only have sympathy for her – not only having to cope with the trauma of the assault at the time – but now having to cope with most of NZ discussing it.

There are those who will remain loyal to Veitch that is the nature of friendship but the public should not. The severity of the assault and his attempt to close the case and protect his career by way of a $100,000 cheque are brazen. The loss of public acceptance will surely be too much for the broadcasters to ignore. …

TVNZ presents itself as the expression of New Zealand values, and campaigns against violence towards women. Veitch now represents the opposite. His continued fronting of programmes which includes being anchorman of the broadcasts would be a disaster for the channel’s reputation.

I think there is no question he is off the air until after the Olympics. The question is when or if he will return after that?

The Herald takes a different tack, saying leave it to the Police:

Little good would be served if two broadcasting companies permanently remove the presenter Tony Veitch from their programmes to try to bring an end to controversy over his assault on a woman. …

A premature move to dismiss him, though, would be seen as being for one reason only: to help the broadcasting companies’ images, not the welfare of the victim or their audiences. It could never represent the closure they might seek and should not in any case be the last word when the police have begun inquiring into what could yet be a case of causing grievous bodily harm.

I disagree somewhat. The criminal issues are different to the employment issues.

If sacking him now is the answer then someone is asking the wrong question. Veitch’s case needs resolution by an authority far higher than the employer. His former partner reportedly suffered breaks to her back from being kicked on the ground, was temporarily confined to a wheelchair and off work for a considerable period. Veitch has admitted “breaking” and “lashing out” on the night of the incident. Rightly, the police have now appointed an officer to review the matter and consider his admissions. They should make every effort to interview the victim – who this year was party to a confidentiality agreement involving payment to her by Veitch of as much as $170,000 – to reassess her decision not to report the matter to the police when it occurred two years ago.

They make the point that as the publicity has now happened anyway, the rationale for not reporting it has lessened.

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