Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Drugs charges for past TVNZ editor

Anne Elizabeth Speir. Photo / NZ Herald.
Anne Elizabeth Speir. Photo / NZ Herald.

A former TVNZ editor and gay activist has been charged with dealing ecstasy, speed and LSD.

Anne Elizabeth Speir, 55, appeared at the Auckland District Court on Thursday facing charges of possession of ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines and cannabis for supply. She was also charged with producing ecstasy.

It is alleged a large amount of cash - believed to be more than $16,000 - was found at her Housing New Zealand-owned home when it was raided by police in May. Speir was bailed to reappear on July 5.

Substances seized during the raid have been sent to Environmental Science and Research for analysis.

She worked on classic TV shows such as A Week Of It during two decades in television with TVNZ and produced Takataapui, a gay lifestyle series for Maori Television in 2004.

Speir was supported in court by two friends. She said that she was concerned about how her elderly father would take the news.

Speir is being represented by barrister Ron Mansfield. "It's very early days," said Mansfield.

"It's all sub-judice so I can't say anything about the case."

Speir will face a jury trial if she pleads not guilty.

Speir, originally from Tauranga, was the first female professional lifeguard on Mt Maunganui beach in the 1970s and began her television career working for South Pacific Television at the end of that decade.

She spoke about her experiences in an interview with Pride NZ last year.

"We were pretty radical then, we did a lot of pro-abortion protesting."

She also told how she believed she faced discrimination from TVNZ in 1979, claiming that she was passed over for promotion. "I was kept on the lowest grade available, because of being a dyke," she claimed.

She is a former chairwoman of the Hero Trust, which organised gay pride parades in Auckland from 1992 to 2001.

Plans for a new pride parade in Auckland were revealed this week.

Speir said she had found it hard to find work in television in recent years because employers favoured young people.

When the Herald on Sunday revealed Ali Mau's relationship with Karleen Edmonds in 2010, Speir said: "Over a quarter of a century ago Marilyn Waring was outed on the front page of Truth newspaper. Clearly nothing has changed, and that deeply saddens me.

"If [Alison] is in a relationship with a woman does she, and that woman too, need to be outed like this?"

bevan.hurley@hos.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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