'Full access' for duo reviewing TVNZ probe

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Last updated 15:28 24/02/2014

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Television New Zealand has appointed Wellington media law expert Steven Price and experienced broadcaster Bill Francis to review its probe into alleged political bias and misuse of company resources in the Shane Taurima furore.

Taurima quit last week after it was revealed he had hosted a meeting to advise Labour on winning the Maori vote.

Taurima failed to win Labour's nomination for the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election last year, but was eyeing the nomination for the Tamaki Makaurau seat.

A branch meeting of Labour's Tamaki Makaurau electorate was held in a TVNZ building.

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the state broadcaster was committed to a "thorough, transparent and fair review process".

Price lectures at Victoria University's law school and Francis is chief executive of the Radio Broadcasters Association.

Kenrick said they would provide an objective and independent view of what had happened and recommend what changes TVNZ could make.

"The review team will be given full access to TVNZ resources," Kenrick said. "It's expected their review will take a matter of weeks, not months."

The panel will be chaired by TVNZ's head of legal and corporate affairs, Brent McAnulty.

It will investigate the use of TVNZ resources in the Maori and Pacific Programmes department for political means between February 2013 and February 2014 when Taurima headed the unit.

Kenrick said it would also determine whether any obvious political bias could be identified in the department's programmes during that period or in Q+A interviews conducted by Taurima, during his time on the show (March to November 2012).

The final report will be made public.

Senior National MPs Paula Bennett and Tau Henare have alleged Taurima was biased in interviews, but several politicians, including NZ First leader Winston Peters, defended him.

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