Bill's snip-snap zaps TV's script

By Claire Trevett

Bill English. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Bill English. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Emails about a Television NZ promotion featuring Bill English reveal his staff rewrote parts of the script.

But the changes saved the Finance Minister from appearing on national television making scissor gestures with his fingers and saying, "It's time to give the snip snap to the zip zap plastic fantastic."

Mr English and the broadcaster were criticised for the advertisements, which featured him speaking in economic jargon, then translating it into layman's terms. The ads were to promote a series on the economy on TVNZ 7 this month.

Emails released yesterday between TVNZ managers and Mr English's press secretary, Craig Howie, showed the minister's office left the economic jargon sentences largely intact, but rewrote the "plain English" segments.

They also show Mr English was repeatedly assured he would have final approval of the script and the promo.

Among the changes, TVNZ creative director Scott Spicer's suggestion of "It's time to give the snip snap to the zip zap plastic fantastic" was replaced by "Let's get investing and back our exporters.

That's where the jobs will come, and that's how we can boost our incomes."

Mr English's office had previously said some changes were made to the script for the sake of accuracy.

Yesterday, Mr Howie maintained that was the case, saying TVNZ's sentences were not correct translations of the economic jargon they were to replace.

Labour MPs claimed Mr English had abused his position as a shareholding minister of TVNZ and had been givenfree air time for what was effectively a party political broadcast.

They also questioned how much say Mr English had over the final script for the promotion, which was taken off-air three weeks before it was due to end.

The emails show TVNZ corporate affairs chief Peter Parussini approached Mr English's office about the promotion in September and said the minister would "obviously" have final approval of the script.

After the promotion was filmed, Mr English's office emailed TVNZ asking to see the material when it was finished.

Mr Parussini emailed back that a rough cut had been done "and, trust me, it's looking good".

Later, he sent an unfinished version to Mr English's office and asked, "Are you happy to sign off on this?"

Mr Howie replied four days later that it "looks really good", but Mr English had not yet seen it.

Later, he sent another email , saying "Bill" was happy with it and an online banner featuring his photo.

CHANGES MADE

TVNZ Script: "We can beat those Aussies. Time to back ourselves - kick for the corner then muscle over the line."
Bill English rewrite: "You know, we can beat those Aussies. It's time to back ourselves. With a bit of old fashioned Kiwi can-do, we'll get there."

TVNZ Script: "It's time to give the snip snap to the zip zap plastic fantastic" (make finger scissors gesture)
Bill English Rewrite: "Lets get investing and back our exporters. That's where the jobs will come and that's how we can boost our incomes."

TVNZ Script: "Keep a few bob in the bank and Bob will be your uncle. We'll get there. Bottom line: it's your economy too."
Bill English rewrite: We're nearly through the tough times and things are looking up. We have plenty of work to do. But I'm confident New Zealanders are up for it and together we'll do it." (Changed by TVNZ for final cut to "We're nearly through the tough times and things are looking up. Together us Kiwis can do it.")

- NZ Herald

Your views

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 02 Sep 2014 13:12:31 Processing Time: 501ms