TV star's secret assault payout

Last updated 22:46 06/07/2008
`HE JUST WANTED IT TO GO AWAY': Tony Veitch and Kristin Dunne-Powell _ the woman he assaulted.

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Broadcaster Tony Veitch will continue his on-air role at Radio Sport despite revelations that he assaulted his former partner and paid $100,000 for her to keep quiet.

Business executive Kristin Dunne-Powell was treated in hospital for serious injuries suffered in the attack. She spent months away from her job as general manager of marketing at Vodafone, had a breakdown and later was forced to quit work.

But at the end of last year, as Veitch, 34, planned his February wedding to tycoon's daughter Zoe Halford, he and his lawyers brokered an agreement with Ms Dunne-Powell which guaranteed her silence over the incident.

She had not filed a complaint with police over the 2006 incident.

Last night the TVNZ star, who besides his One News role also presents the Game of Two Halves quiz and Radio Sport's breakfast show, refused to comment.

Veitch, who resumed his radio role this morning after a two-week holiday, said: "I've got nothing to say."

NewstalkZB controls Radio Sport and manager Bill Francis said today Veitch had spoken to a lawyer.

"The only thing I would say at this stage is that Tony has taken legal advice and we as an employer don't comment on personal matters affecting our staff.

"That is all I am prepared to say."

When asked if Veitch would carry on with his Radio Sport job, Mr Francis replied: "Absolutely. Nothing has changed."

A TVNZ spokeswoman said Veitch was seeking legal advice and the state broadcaster would not comment on the personal lives of staff.

Ms Dunne-Powell, 33, who married business consultant Morgan Powell last year and is now chief operating officer of broadband firm Woosh, could not be reached for comment last night.

Rumours of the incident, which happened after the couple ended their four-year relationship, have circulated for more than a year.

"Kristin had been living at Tony's house in St Heliers in 2005 but she had moved out when this happened," a source, who asked not to be named, revealed.

"It was really very nasty indeed. Kristin was in a wheelchair for some time but they agreed to stick to a story that she had fallen on the stairs. I'm still not sure why Kristin did that, but obviously Tony was worried it could finish his career, and he loves his job.

"They both moved on with their lives but the repercussions went on and on. There have been rumours, but they've been able to keep a lid on it. Then the lawyers got involved, there were negotiations and Tony made an offer. He just wanted it to go away - forever."

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Within a few weeks of signing the agreement, Veitch married Miss Halford at her father Paul's lakeside home in Arrowtown and set off for a lavish honeymoon in Thailand.

Last year he and his wife moved to a $1.8 million villa on the exclusive northern slopes of Auckland's Herne Bay.

Veitch, director of a property investment company and a television company named after himself, is still listed as the co-owner of the ultra-modern St Heliers townhouse where the incident happened.

At the start of last week the house was still advertised for rent on the Trade Me website at $1800 a week. It is understood to have been empty and for sale for some time, despite being featured last year in a spread in a newspaper's property supplement.

Veitch is the son of veteran television producer Graham Veitch and his former wife, Sue, who divorced when he was still at primary school. The split resulted in his childhood being divided between Australia, where his mother lives, and New Zealand.

He once got married on a whim to a girl he met on a holiday bus tour in America. The quickie marriage, in the Elvis Presley chapel in Las Vegas, was swiftly dissolved.

Veitch began his TVNZ career in 1998 as a reporter on Holmes. Known for his motormouth style, the broadcaster is no stranger to controversy having been ordered to make an on-air apology for racist remarks and being taken off air after appearing in a harness racing advertisement, deemed inappropriate for a sports reporter.

TVNZ tightened up its rules on staff working outside of the public broadcaster, believing they could potentially compromise its editorial integrity.

- with NZPA 

- The Dominion Post

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