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TVNZ golden handshake for bigot?

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, October 13th, 2010 - 35 comments
Categories: class war, racism - Tags: , ,

If you resign from your job today will your boss give you half a year’s pay as a parting gift? No? Funny because that, apparently, is standard practice for high-paid stars. It is being reported that Paul Henry received up to $150,000 from TVNZ when he resigned due to the storm over his racist remarks. And that was regarded as a good deal for TVNZ!

I guess this is just standard practice for the rich. Whether its shareholders’ money or taxpayers’ money, the people in charge seem more than willing to pay each other the big bucks and dish out backhanders they would never dream of handing to ordinary workers.

The Government is keeping with its practice throughout this whole saga of closing its eyes, thereby tacitly endorsing Henry and TVNZ management. Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman has made clear that he doesn’t care whether our taxpayer-owned broadcaster gave a small fortune to a disgraced bigot, which they can have had no legal obligation to pay.

A bigot, a valueless management, and a do nothing government. What a disgraceful collection.

35 comments on “TVNZ golden handshake for bigot? ”

  1. prism 1

    That’s a different world, being up with the big players. Little ants like me can only see a part of the big world above me, and never understand it. And of course we can be stood on freely and easily.

    We don’t count because we don’t gather lots of money, and having lots of money is essential so you can count it and so you get counted as worthwhile in the big world of business. Where they’re all about counting – full stop. And only upsetting important others who are business prospects counts against you.

    Susan Boyle was not such, or the other ants Paul Henry has stepped or spat on. (Incidentally the tendency to be cruel and vulgar in today’s media included one women’s magazine who shrank Susan Boyle when they wrote about her to a disparaging ‘Subo’.)

  2. tc 2

    The payout is because
    1) Henry was doing excatly what Ellis/Flannery expected of him as such he’s being forced out for performing his assigned duties as a shock jock so yet again the buck stops at Ellis’s door….no settlement and henry’s lawyer would pounce…which would open up some interesting facts that TVNZ don’t want known.
    2) They can get away with it by placating their fallen star and assure the gov’t there will be alot more the same quality coverage of their economic/political performance by the likes of Espiner/Holmes/sainsbury etc.

    “a valueless management” indeed unless you value grovelling yes mem and tabloid focused news chiefs …..this is what Ellis get nearly $1m p.a. for…….I’m jealous, what a gig eh.

    • grumpy 2.1

      Exactly, Henry gets the money because of management incompetence. Personally, I don’t think he should have resigned but he would have got a bigger payout through the courts.

      Never mind, in a few weeks he will be back, either on TVNZ or TV3. He is one of the best broadcasters in the country and certainly the best interviewer.

      • toad 2.1.1

        The “best interviewer” grumpy? Really???

        Personally, I don’t think he’s anywhere near the calibre of Sean Plunket, Mary Wilson, Kim Hill, or Mike Hosking as an interviewer.

        • grumpy

          Mabe Hosking, but the rest are restrained by their political stance. Both Henry and Hosking take the fight to the person being interviewed regardless of political persuasion. I agree that Plunkett has the potential but Kim Hill?? really???? Just a tired old leftie trying to score one for the team.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.2

      You’re onto it, TC. TVNZ are complicit in Henry’s behaviour and could not fire him without expecting a personal grievance case to follow. The fear of having their culture of bogotry exposed in an open court environment would have made the decision easy for Ellis. The only surprise for me is that Henry settled so cheaply. If he’d been a union member, I suspect the EPMU or PSA would have got a hell of a lot more and not taken half of it in lawyer’s fees.

  3. ianmac 3

    $150,000 for a layoff redundancy payment for doing wrong? Wonder if Henry can make a habit of it. You know work for a few weeks in TV, make some stupid disparaging comments, get suspended, collect another $150,000. Wonder if he collects the dole as well?

  4. tc 4

    He settled ‘cheap’ because the boyz would’ve lined up his next gig already….few months out of the circus ring and up he’ll pop again.
    I’m no fan but concede he is a good interviewer it’s just a pity we’ve no media outlets that value a decent interview just giving the pollies their PR soapboxes without interogation.

  5. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 5

    TVNZ would have struggled to sack Henry for cause, and quite how they could have followed a fair procedure in the face of all the baying I am not sure. Hence they were obliged to pay to avoid a personal grievance. Just a consequence of those labour laws you guys are always complaining are slanted in favour of the employer, I am afraid. Or should certain people not be entitled to work rights?

    • Bright Red 5.1

      But Henry resigned. he wasn’t fired by TVNZ.

      You can’t take a personal grievence when you’re the one who resigned. Unless you want to argue constructive dismissal.

    • The Voice of Reason 5.2

      Oh, there’s no doubt Henry would have been sacked alright, OOB. Bringing TVNZ into disrepute covers it more than adequately. The question his lawyers would have raised is that he had the tacit or perhaps explicit approval of his employer to behave that way, therefore it was their fault too.

      It’s a bit like the footballer Nigel de Jong, who is currently about to be sued for breaking an opponents leg. Should he carry the can alone, when he was following his manager’s instruction to get stuck in? Or the owner of an attack dog that bites a neighbour; the dog gets put down, but the owner pays the fine.

      • mcflock 5.2.1

        not to mention that he had already been suspended for two weeks (o woe is he!) as punishment, so to be fired after that would have been unfair.

        He should have been fired immediately. But then he’s probably got emails from them saying “keep it up – try avoiding cripples for a while, but do something for the Commonwealth Games, eh?”.

        Managerial imcompetence costs far more than employee incompetence.

        • Herodotus

          Mcf why should PH have been fired. From this site (Left leaning workers rights etc) should not due process occur for that outcome. We have already had Matt McCarten comment similar as to yourself. Try and fire one of his United workers without due process and see the employer in court. remember the law is to be followed by all, and who is to say that from his bosses perspective PH had done anything wrong. TVNZ may have different standards that their staff are measured to.

          • mcflock

            Gross misconduct, vis. making racist comments on air.

            If I made comments like that to a colleague, they could make a complaint to my boss. The fact that it was transmitted to 100,000 people takes it beyond “verbal warning” or mediation territory (i.e. grossly inappropriate for that workplace).

            If his employer had encouraged previous statements, then both he and his manager should have been fired unless he could demonstrate that he protested the instruction.

            Frankly, if his manager got fired as well I’d have no problem with Henry getting fired and receiving a Hawkesby parachute. We should not pay people to make bigoted comments on state TV.

            And BTW, unions aren’t against members being fired ever, they’re just opposed to unfair dismissals, hostile or dangerous workplaces, and incompetent managers.

            I haven’t seen anyone argue that an incompetent worker who has been given fair training and opportunities to improve should be kept on.

  6. James Stephenson 6

    Is it a golden handshake, or did he perhaps just have a contract with a six-month notice period that’s been paid out?

    • Bright Red 6.1

      If you resign from a contract, do you usually get paid out for the wok you didn’t do?


      This just shows that the ‘resignation’ was a farce.

    • OleOlebiscuitBarrell 6.2

      Good point, James. He may have been required to give six months’ notice of resignation which, at the employer’s option, they can require him to sit out. Obviously, if you do not want him on the screen, that is your only option. They would probably have had a long notice period like that because they wouldn’t have wanted him going to the opposition straight from TVNZ.

  7. prism 7

    What, all is forgiven Paul H because you really are a good interviewer aren’t you?
    Sometimes, when you get it together and aren’t having a brain storm. That’s so unfortunate for you to bear, those brain storms jeez. All the best, keep poking the stick at everybody, stirring up the ants, not worrying about quality and fair behaviour in your comments. That’s what we do today, say what we think, bully and abuse people on cellphones why not on television too, just anywhere we can get away with it. Keep up the good reporting and broadcasting!

  8. Nick C 8

    “which they can have had no legal obligation to pay.”

    I know it would be unusual if they did have a legal obligation to pay, but you cant possibly know that because you havent seen Paul Henrys contract. TBH it wouldnt surprise me if there were unusual clauses given the unusual nature of his employment.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      What contract says ‘if I resign, you pay me $150,000?’

      • OleOlebiscuitBarrell 8.1.1

        For key employees, it is common to require the employee to give a long period of notice, so that, if they are planning to go to a competitor, the employer can sideline the employee for a period of time. Commonly, the employee is paid but is told not to come to work. Especially if they are on screen. By use of this clause, the employer can prevent the employee from competing.

        • Armchair Critic

          I’ve found restraint of trade clauses are much more common than long notice periods. Never been sure how legal or enforceable they are.

          • lprent

            I went through quite a lot of material on that when I was doing the MBA. They essentially can’t restrict you from a whole industry, but can restrict you from local competitors for a relatively short and clearly defined period of time. Mostly in case law. The real issue is to do with the aggravation when a employer decides to drag you through court. Even if you win then you usually lose even with cort ordered compansation.

            I read them very very carefully and I’ve turned down a number of jobs because I considered that the employers were being way too optimistic.

      • grumpy 8.1.2

        The one that says “if you encourage me to work in a particular manner, and then the shit hits the fan and you want me to take the rap – then I can sue your socks off ” one.

  9. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 9

    That’s why they use the “gardening leave” provisions: a restraint of trade for an employee is hard to enforce.

  10. Rodel 10

    Hey I’ll contribute another $10 to increase Paul’s golden handshake, if they guarantee not to employ him again.

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