28 Nov 2023

New Zealand on Air board member Andrew Shaw quits over comments about Winston Peters

6:22 pm on 28 November 2023
Former NZ on Air board member Andrew Shaw.

NZ on Air board member Andrew Shaw who has stepped down today. Photo: Screenshot / NZ on Air

New Zealand on Air says board member Andrew Shaw has resigned over a post he made regarding Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

It said Shaw has also unreservedly apologised for comments made on LinkedIn about Peters.

Newshub is reporting that Shaw's post said of Peters: "He's not truthful. He's not accurate. He's malicious and he is here on behalf of international tobacco. His return is the worst of this gang of thugs."

The post has since been taken down from LinkedIn, Newshub reported.

Shaw was responding to comments from Peters on Monday, during which he accused state-funded media organisations of a lack of independence from the previous government.

Winston Peters

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He said TVNZ and RNZ were not truly independent, and could not "defend $55 million of bribery". This was a reference to the Public Interest Journalism Fund, a three-year $55m contestable fund for journalists initially set up to shore up public interest media during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was wound up in July.

Peters made further comments at the new government's first Cabinet meeting this afternoon, advising journalists they should "tell the public what you signed up to, to get the money. It's called transparency, okay?"

RNZ has approached Peters for comment.

New Zealand on Air said in a statement this evening Shaw accepted it was wrong to publish his personal political views.

The views expressed were Shaw's own and not a reflection of the agency's views, it said.

"We are a non-partisan agency that has worked constructively with governments of all hues for 34 years," NZ on Air's statement said.

Board appointments are made by the Broadcasting Minister's office.

Shaw was appointed by former minister Kris Faafoi for a three-year term starting from 1 June 2022.

At the time of his appointment, the minister's office said Shaw had worked in broadcasting for 45 years, with stints on shows such as Mastermind, Radio with Pictures, Top Town and Clash of the Codes.

In 2000 he left TVNZ to become chief operating officer of South Pacific Pictures and then general manager of Prime.

In 2007 he returned to TVNZ as general manager of commissioning and acquisitions, before taking up a role as deputy director of content where he oversaw international acquisitions and co-productions.

More recently, he has worked as a consultant to independent producers via his own company.

The board chairperson at the time, Ruth Harley, said he brought "an enormous depth of experience to the screen content side of our business as well as a wealth of knowledge about NZ culture in a range of domains", to the board role.

In its statement today the board thanked Shaw for his service, saying his decades of screen sector experience had been "invaluable".

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