TV sports presenter banned over ad

By Claire Trevett

TVNZ has suspended sports presenter Tony Veitch for appearing in an advertisement for next month's Interdominion harness racing series at Alexandra Park.

The Herald understands the One News sports frontman did not seek his employers' clearance to do the ad.

It began screening on Sunday and is scheduled to run until the Interdominions begin on March 5.

TVNZ news chief Bill Ralston said he could not discuss employment contracts, but the general policy for editorial staff endorsing or promoting something was clear.

"People watch the news, whether it is sports or news, and expect to be hearing the truth rather than some editorial statement.

"I have to have a clear demarcation between people who sell products or services and people who tell the news."

Veitch would be off the sports news until at least next week, when Ralston said he would review the ban.

"It depends on the length of the advertising campaign."

Veitch's appearance on the TVOne show A Game of Two Halves, which is produced by an independent company, would not be affected by the suspension.

Veitch could not be contacted last night.

Tim Greene, marketing and media manager for the Auckland Trotting Club, said the club had not decided whether to pull the ads.

"Our timeslots are all booked and if we started again from scratch, we would be right up on the event by the time the ad was finished.

"However, the last thing we want to do is put him [Veitch] in the situation where he is under the stick and just say, 'Tough luck, buddy'."

Mr Greene said he would talk to the advertising agency to see if there was a way around the problem, such as removing Veitch from the ad.

He said the club approached Veitch because it wanted to emphasise the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand at the Interdominions.

"Tony's got massive appeal from grandmothers to teenagers."

Veitch also presents the Radio Sport breakfast show, but chief Bill Francis said it was a commercial environment and he had no problem with the host appearing in the ad.

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