Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

NZ On Air chairman 'adds value'

Jane Wrightson. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Jane Wrightson. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key says he supports his electorate chairman serving on the NZ On Air board despite his objections to the screening of a documentary about child poverty just before last year's election.

Stephen McElrea, who is also the National Party's northern region deputy chairman, raised concerns about the screening on TV3 of the NZ On Air-funded documentary Inside Child Poverty, which screened four days before last year's election.

He wrote to the NZ On Air chief executive, Jane Wrightson, who then wrote to TV3 before the documentary was shown to say she was "deeply disappointed" by the scheduling decision.

Mr Key said people who had a problem with the timing of the documentary could lay a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Electoral Commission.

He saw no conflict of interest in Mr McElrea's position on the board.

"By definition all appointments of that nature are political, because they're made by politicians, but this is a man who has 20 years' experience in broadcasting ...

and I think can add value to NZ On Air," Mr Key said.

He said Mr McElrea raised objections in response to complaints from members of the public - even though he wrote to Jane Wrightson before the documentary was screened.

- NZ Herald

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