28 Oct 2009

English laughs at criticisms of TV promos

10:39 am on 28 October 2009

Finance Minister Bill English is laughing at claims that his fronting an advert for Television New Zealand is inappropriate, saying he thinks it looks quite good.

Mr English is the only politician featured in the ads which promote a series on the economy running on the TVNZ 7 channel in November.

The adverts feature Mr English in a suit or looking casual - with the Sky Tower as a backdrop. It compares speeches made in economic jargon with a Plain English version.

Labour says they look too much like a party political broadcast.

Mr English is featured talking about improving productivity as the country emerges from the recession.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says it's inappropriate for one of TVNZ's shareholding ministers to be appearing on its advertisements. He says it looks and sounds like a party political broadcast.

Mr English says TVNZ approached his office and wrote the script, using his speeches as a starting point. He does not think the ads are political at all.

TVNZ says the item has played about 35 times so far and is scheduled to play another 100 times across all its channels.

Mr Cunliffe says that's a lot of free airtime for Mr English.

TVNZ has received one formal complaint that the advert is unbalanced - but it says it will continue to screen it.

TVNZ 7 view

Television New Zealand does not accept that the item is inappropriately political.

Channel 7 head Eric Kearley told Morning Report the ad was developed by the station's creative team and altered by Mr English's advisors.

Mr Kearley said the promo was made to promote the programme and not be dissected from a political point of view.

He said Mr English was chosen because of his responsibility for the economy and as a play on his name to promote the show's 'plain English' approach to the subject.