Native Affairs - Shane Taurima TVNZ Report Released

By Mihingarangi Forbes

Today TVNZ finally released its report into alleged misconduct within its Māori and Pacific Programmes Department during Shane Taurima's tenure as the General Manager.

Taurima resigned in February after it was revealed he'd hosted a meeting on TVNZ premises for the Labour Party.

Taurima unsuccessfully sought the Ikaroa Rāwhiti nominiation last year for Labour but was allowed to return to his role as GM after assuring management his political ambitions were over.

However, it became common knowledge Taurima was planning to run for the Tāmaki Makaurau electorate and he's now one of two contenders seeking the nomination.

While the panel says it found no evidence of a political bias in TVNZ's Māori and Pacific Programmes, It did find TVNZ resources, including a meeting venue, travel, email, telephone and photocopying resources were used inappropriately for Labour Party political purposes.

Also Taurima was also involved in extensive Labour Party political activity soon after his return from the Ikaroa Rāwhiti by election, and up until his resignation in February2014.

This breached TVNZ's policy on conflicts of interest, and he should have disclosed these activities sooner and in more detail than he did.

The report states that TVNZ could have done more to enquire further.

The Panel also found evidence Taurima had encouraged staff members under his management to sign up to the labour party. In an email he sent on the second of July 2013 he asked staff, "Please over the next couple of days join up to Labour".

One staff member Aroha Mane told the panel, "Mr Taurima's Labour Party related requests made it difficult for them to fulfil their work duties".

It also found that Taurima had actively sought to keep his Labour Party activities concealed from TVNZ.

In one email to staff sent last July he asked them to quote "keep this to themselves" "signed Secret Squirrel”. All three of those staff are no longer employed by TVNZ.

This afternoon Native Affairs spoke to Shane Taurima and TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick about the findings.