Broadcaster Tony Veitch is taking time away from his television and radio shows in the wake of revelations that he assaulted his former partner.
The Dominion Post revealed yesterday that Veitch assaulted Kristin Dunne-Powell and later agreed to pay her more than $100,000 to guarantee her silence.
Ms Dunne-Powell required hospital treatment and was temporarily confined to a wheelchair.
In a statement issued this afternoon, TVNZ head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery said Veitch would step down while a review was conducted into the allegations against him.
The Radio Network's general manager talk programmes, Bill Francis, said this afternoon that Veitch would be on leave for the rest of the week to focus on "legal discussions related to news reports about him".
He is set to be replaced by D'Arcy Waldegrave, the Sunday News reported today.
Until today, Veitch's employers at The Radio Network and TVNZ said the issue was a private matter, that Veitch would hold his jobs and was consulting his lawyers.
Asked if he stood by his comments made yesterday that Veitch's personal life was not the business of his employer, Francis replied: "I am making no comments on what I said yesterday."
This morning after finishing his radio show Veitch spent three hours visiting a top inner city Auckland lawyer, accompanied by his wife Zoe Halford.
Veitch has not yet made any public statement on the allegations which were first made in the Dominion Post on Monday.
Television New Zealand has also been tight-lipped on whether Veitch has the support of the state broadcaster where he fronts the flagship One News 6pm sports bulletin.
Asked today whether TVNZ would also be issuing a statement on Veitch's future, spokeswoman Megan Richards said: "We don't have anything to say just at the moment."
Veitch's employers have been subjected to calls from viewers and anti-violence groups for the broadcaster to be stood down after yesterday's revelations.'
His former boss Bill Ralston, who was TVNZ's head of news and current affairs at the time of the assault, said the allegations were serious.
"This is a pretty serious allegation to be hanging over a public figure, somebody that fronts up on a television news bulletin every night," he said on Radio Live.
Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said she thought TVNZ should take a stand.
"They do have a responsibility. Being people who are sending a positive message out to the community about changing attitudes to violence, it's a bit contradictory that they don't look in their own backyard."
Helen McVicar, a Wellington Living Free From Violence network co-coordinator, believes the case showed partner violence crossed all social economic barriers "and the wealthier you are the easier it is to get away with it".
An Auckland police spokeswoman said officers could investigate assaults without a complainant, as long as there was evidence of an assault. It was much more difficult to investigate retrospective complaints without a complainant.
Prime Minister Helen Clark, who introduced the Government's campaign against family violence last year with a plea for relatives and friends to not protect offenders, said she had no first-hand knowledge of the allegations.
"But what I would say is that family violence is not okay, and as I recall the speech I made at the launch, I said it's not okay to hit your husband or wife."
She would not comment on whether TVNZ should investigate the Veitch allegations because it was an employment matter.
- The Dominion Post and Sunday News
- Fairfax Media
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