13 Jul 2008

Minister wants report on what TVNZ knew of Veitch assault

9:32 pm on 13 July 2008

The Minister of Broadcasting says he expects to receive a report on who at Television New Zealand knew about Tony Veitch's assault on his former partner, and when.

Both TVNZ, and Mr Veitch's other employer, the Radio Network, have admitted senior executives at both companies have known some details of the incident since late last year.

Earlier this week, Mr Veitch admitted he assaulted Kristin Dunne-Powell after an argument at their Auckland home in December 2006 and publicly apologised for his actions.

Mr Veitch said he and Ms Dunne-Powell had a confidentiality agreement, which included "payment for loss of income and distress I caused her."

Television New Zealand chief executive Rick Ellis said on Saturday that Mr Veitch sought advice from senior executives in December 2007 regarding the incident with Ms Dunne-Powell.

Mr Ellis said they were unaware of the details of the attack, but did know a bit later of a financial settlement.

On Friday, TVNZ announced that Mr Veitch would not present its coverage of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Minister of Broadcasting Trevor Mallard says he expects to receive a report on who at Television New Zealand knew about Tony Veitch's assault on his former partner, and when they knew it.

He says the issue is still an employment matter and until TVNZ has completed its review, he will not make any substantive comment.

But Mr Mallard agrees that the whole matter is not a "flash look" for Television New Zealand.

The Radio Network's general manager of talk programming, Bill Francis, said he and another executive were notified of Mr Veitch's personal conflict following his return from the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

Mr Francis said he knew of a "fracas" between Mr Veitch and Ms Dunne-Powell and that the broadcaster had paid compensation to her.

Mr Veitch has been suspended from his breakfast show on Radio Sport, while the company conducts an investigation.

Police have begun a formal investigation into the incident.

Veitch must still confront what he did - lobby group

An anti-violence group says Tony Veitch's first interview since he admitted assaulting his former partner, shows he still has to confront what he did.

The sports broadcaster was interviewed by Paul Holmes in a Sunday newspaper.

Holmes begins the article by declaring he is a friend of Mr Veitch's.

In the interview, Mr Veitch did not give any details of the attack, referring to it only as a "terrible incident".

He said the only injuries he heard doctors talk about at the time were bruises. Newspaper reports say her back was broken.

Preventing Family Violence says men who assault their partners often minimise its impact and make themselves the victim.

Executive director Jane Drumm says the interview shows Veitch still needs to admit what he's done.