Friday, November 09, 2012


National has appointed Don Brash's former chief of staff Richard Long to the board of TVNZ. While he was previously a journalist before selling out and going into politics, the fact that he served at such a high level in a political position taints him permanently, and raises doubts about whether the appointment was really on merit or simply another of National's crony appointments. The OIA will no doubt answer that (can Craig Foss run a credible appointments process? Answers in 20 working days). But quite apart from that, there are also serious concerns about people with such strong political connections sitting on the board of our supposedly neutral state broadcaster. We've already seen how National cronies have abused their position at NZ On Air to politically screen applicants and to censor potentially embarassing programmes. Do we really trust them not to do the same to our TV news? I don't think so.

Cronyism is bad enough; cronyism in this sort of position is intolerable. Appointments to state broadcasters should be independent and apolitical. Anything less is simply inviting abuse.