Assault complaint laid against Veitch

By Edward Gay

A formal assault complaint has been laid against Tony Veitch by his former partner Kristin Dunne-Powell.

Police confirmed the assault complaint had been laid late this evening.

The news follows Veitch's resignations from his media jobs at TVNZ and Radio Sport today.

He quit following allegations he assaulted Miss Dunne-Powell in 2006.

Veitch admitted later paying her a sum of money, thought to be around $170,000 in relation to the incident.

Earlier TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis gave more details on what the network knew of the 'Veitch affair', after the star broadcaster's resignation.

He has given one month notice to the The Radio Network and despite giving three months notice to TVNZ, his resignation is effective immediately.

TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis told a packed media conference this afternoon that the allegations had drawn a strong response from the community with letters, emails and phone calls showing "extreme disappointment and disapproval".

"It's fair to say that Tony has made this decision off his own bat and I think he did the honourable thing. It's fair to say that Tony's resignation is an easier outcome to manage than the whole disciplinary process," Mr Ellis said.

He said TVNZ managers understood there had been a "minor incident" and nothing more when they met Veitch in December, 2007.

Mr Ellis was questioned why TVNZ managers did not ask more questions of Veitch.

"We're not the police, we are not the courts. We do not have the right to demand information about someone's private life," he said.

He said the main focus of the meeting was about "Tony's state of agitation as a result of communications he was receiving by email and text from both his former partner and his former partner's lawyers. And what we did was direct him to proper advice because clearly he was not in a position to manage those issues properly himself," Mr Ellis said.

He said there are stories "going around" which are unsourced and unnamed. "I don't know what the facts of the matter are; I don't think you know what the facts of the matter are because they have not been revealed."

He said once Veitch was referred to a lawyer at the firm Simpson and Grierson, TVNZ was no longer involved.

In a statement Veitch said: "I have tendered my resignation to TVNZ and The Radio Network today.

"I need to take stock of my life and spend time with my family before I make any decisions about my future. At the time I undertook counselling and am still continuing to do so. It has been a great help. I am extremely grateful for the love and support of my family and friends."

Mr Ellis said, "New Zealanders have had enough of violence. As a company, TVNZ does not condone violence. It is not ok."

He said the damage to the TVNZ brand would only be known after the next round of ratings.

Mr Ellis said a review process was underway into the way the company had dealt with the matter.

TRN general manager talk programming Bill Francis said there would no golden handshake for Veitch.

"He resigned, giving one month's notice as required and he will get paid out for the one month and that is it," Mr Francis said.

He would not put a dollar amount on the payment.

"Tony is an exceptional broadcaster, well above the average, and really at the point of real growth," Mr Francis said.

"There can be no winners out of this."

Veitch's resignation arrived in the form of a letter from his lawyer.

Veitch asked for privacy as he contemplated his future.

"I would ask that people now respect the agreement Kristin and I made to keep our personal affairs private. At all times I have been honest with my employers and at all times I have tried to do the right thing for everyone. TVNZ has been my life, I have loved my job," he said.

"There have been a lot of statements made that are untrue which make it untenable now for me to continue in my current roles with TVNZ and the Radio Network.

"I would like to thank both TVNZ and The Radio Network for their ongoing support. I would also like to thank the many individuals who have reminded me of their belief in me at a time such as this. It gives me strength for the future."

In a statement The Radio Network confirmed today that it had received and accepted the resignation of Veitch.

Mr Francis said TRN's senior management had been advised of his decision.

A decision on a permanent replacement as breakfast presenter would be made in due course.

Heather Henare, chief executive of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, said Veitch's position had become untenable and he was wise to resign.

"I think he recognised that to try to weather this storm out would have only continued to do both him and his employers more harm," she said.

"I also think he still shows clear signs of not having a full appreciation and understanding of domestic violence and hope that is something that in time can change.

"I think what Tony understands as being the right thing to say and do is still not in touch with complete reality and accepting full and unconditional responsibility."

- with NZPA

- NZ Herald

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