13 Feb 2019

Fomer RNZ chairman won't be prosecuted over voicemail

1:39 pm on 13 February 2019

Archives New Zealand has decided not to prosecute the former chairman of RNZ Richard Griffin over a voicemail left on his phone by former government minister Clare Curran a year ago.

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson (left) and chair Richard Griffin front up to the Select Committee.

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson (left) and chair Richard Griffin front up to the Select Committee. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Ms Curran called Mr Griffin after it was revealed he and the RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson had misled the committee over the nature of a meeting between the former head of news Carol Hirschfeld and Ms Curran.

In the voicemail, she urged Mr Griffin to write to the committee to correct the record as soon as possible but Mr Griffin took that to mean she would rather he wrote than turned up in person.

He subsequently refused to hand over the voicemail despite formal requests for it.

Chief Archivist Richard Foy said the matter did not meet the threshold for prosecution.

"There wasn't sufficient evidence in terms of the precise word of the law and the breach. But that is why we also provided some caution to Mr Griffin as well as to the chief executive of RNZ around their obligations, because it is important we keep and maintain such records," he said.

Mr Foy said there would have needed to be a breach of the provisions of the Public Records Act providing clear and sufficient evidence if they were to hand the matter to police to prosecute.

But he also said there has never been a prosecution of this nature.

"We have considered prosecutions under the inappropriate holding of government records by known public offices, those are called astrays," Mr Foy said.

But he said in that case the other party has chosen to comply with the Public Records Act, so they did not need to go through with it.

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