TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick says management was assured by Shane Taurima he had “no further political ambitions” prior to reappointing him as General Manager of Māori and Pacific Programmes following his unsuccessful bid for the Ikaroa Rāwhiti Labour candidacy.
In a press statement released today Kenrick says at the time “when asked to choose between journalism and politics, he (Taurima) chose journalism. With the benefit of hindsight that decision was a mistake “
Taurima resigned yesterday following revelations which aired on 3 News claiming he used TVNZ premises and members of his staff to organise meetings to help bolster his political aspirations with Labour.
TVNZ has appointed Raewyn Rasch as acting GM of Maori and Pacific Programmes. Brent McAnulty TVNZ’s Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs will lead an investigation into staff use of TVNZ resources to support political party activities and review the editorial independence of the Maori and Pacific Programming division during Shane Taurima’s time as manager.
3 News also revealed three members of Taurima’s former staff are under investigation for assisting in the organisation of a meeting of Labour members which included a discussion facilitated by Taurima focused on ‘how to get the Māori vote’.
In a statement released by Taurima today he says, “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.”
Taurima also emphatically denied that his political affiliations had any impact on his editorial decisions while manager.
Te Māngai Pāho CEO, John Bishara also released a statement today saying he was saddened to hear of Taurima's resignation and he too was confident he would not have let his political ties have any influence on editorial decisions.