Lee cleared of misuse of funding claims

NZ On Air has cleared National's Mt Albert by-election candidate Melissa Lee of allegations that she misled it and misused public funding.

It was alleged that Ms Lee, who is already in Parliament as a list MP, deceived NZ On Air last year by not disclosing she was standing for Parliament when applying for funding for the 2009 series of Asia Downunder.

It was also alleged she was improperly involved in editorial decisions in the 2008 series of Asia Downunder, and that public funds were used to make an election video.

NZ On Air, the Government's broadcasting funder, today said in a statement that it had investigated the allegations and found nothing wrong.

"NZ On Air is satisfied that Ms Lee did not have editorial control for Asia Downunder programmes dealing with political matters, and that the systems put in place were robust, managed well by TVNZ and (overseeing producer) Rachel Jean, and willingly complied with by Ms Lee."

It was also not misled at any stage about Ms Lee's intentions to stand for Parliament and was satisfied that public funds intended for production of Asia Downunder were not misused.

"At this stage NZ On Air has found no evidence of misappropriation of public funds and no further action will be taken."

- NZPA


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