The financial profit of TVNZ was overshadowed as it's bosses came before the Commerce Select Committee today by the allegations regarding Shane Taurima and his activities with the Labour Party during his time as head of the company's Māori and Pacific Programmes unit.
The bosses at TVNZ went to Parliament to talk finances, but there was no denying the political issues within the company itself would be the main focus.
One of the Select Committee Members asked if TVNZ was a ‘breeding ground for Labour Party activists’, to which TVNZ representatives responded with laughter.
However despite the laughter, TVNZ knows all too well this is no joking matter. Apart from the allegations regarding Shane Taurima, another former TVNZ employee, Tamati Coffey, is now seeking Labour candidacy. Add current MP Kris Fa'afoi having been a former TVNZ reporter, and it's all fuel for the fire.
One of the major questions that arose following Shane Taurima's bid for the Labour candidacy in Te Ikaroa-Rāwhiti was whether he should have been allowed back to his role as general manager at TVNZ.
TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick responded with, “we were very clear that there was a risk in this particular circumstance...we relied on those assurances and acted accordingly.”
However, Shane Taurima was still involved in politics. Taurima attended a meeting of Labour's Māori council in October last year.
In terms of the other staff members implicated in the allegations of misusing TVNZ resources, Maria Kuiti and Aroha Mane have left their positions, but it's still unclear whether or not Natasha Morris remains at TVNZ. Their internal review is expected to be completed in April.