MPs have the absolute protection of parliamentary privilege for what they say in the House. Some years ago a standing order was adopted which allowed those who feel they were effectively defamed by an MP, to submit a response to the Speaker, which is tabled in Parliament if accepted by the Speaker.
Paoro Maxwell has done this, and his response is below:
On Wednesday, 4 September and Thursday, 5 September 2013, Clare Curran, MP for Dunedin South, referred to me by name or by implication during questions for oral answer. Ms Curran’s statements infer that there was something to hide about my leaving my previous position at Television New Zealand; she stated that I “left without a reference and under a cloud of financial and staff mismanagement”. She also stated that I was only shortlisted for the position of Chief Executive of Māori Television as a result of improper influence by the Māori Television Board Chairperson. Ms Curran also alleged that my
production company, Aratai Film and Television Productions Limited, owes money to the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency, Te Māngai Pāho.
Ms Curran’s comments about both my production company and me are untrue and have damaged my professional reputation both presently and in the future. The statements made in the House could well have adversely affected both my application for the Chief Executive position at Māori Television, and also if I choose to apply for any job in the public sector in the future. For the record, my primary reason for leaving Television New Zealand was that I was satisfied with what I had achieved during my tenure as the General Manager of Māori and Pacific Programmes, and I was also confident that the Māori and Pacific department would be retained in the future and remain under the auspices of Television New Zealand. I left with a reference from the Head of News and Current Affairs at Television New Zealand. Additionally, I reject the suggestion that the Chairperson of Māori Television would have acted inappropriately in dealing with the shortlisting process. More likely the reason for my shortlisting was that I have twenty-six years of experience in the television industry, having served in various senior roles, and am one of a handful of people with the senior management experience to fill the role of Chief Executive of Māori Television. Ms Curran’s statement in relation to Te Māngai Pāho is also untrue as Te Māngai Pāho has confirmed that I have no current debt to it.
Will we see an apology?