Windfall due for Sainsbury

By Kirsty Wynn

Mark Sainsbury says he'll keep the axing of Close Up in perspective. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mark Sainsbury says he'll keep the axing of Close Up in perspective. Photo / Greg Bowker

He's not expecting a payout reminiscent of John Hawkesby's record $6.5m deal, but dumped presenter Mark Sainsbury is confident he will be looked after by Television New Zealand.

An open-ended contract with the state broadcaster means the veteran will be entitled to a substantial redundancy package when he leaves Close Up and TVNZ on November 30.

It is understood Sainsbury was on the state broadcaster's old-style contract, which means he'd be paid out for 31 years of service.

"It would be a phenomenal amount of money," a source said.

A calculation of 12 weeks' pay for the first year of service and two weeks for each subsequent year would see him pocket $500,000 - a conservative estimate.

Sainbury said he had new plans "brewing" - but they did not include making wine next door to Hawkesby.

"I'm not going to be setting up a vineyard on Waiheke," he laughed.

Bill Ralston, who was TVNZ news boss from 2003 to 2007, said if Sainsbury isn't happy with the package, the door may be open for him to pursue legal action should he wish to.

"TVNZ failed to support him on a number of occasions when comments were made in the press about him," Ralston said.

Sainsbury said there was no "bad blood" between himself and TVNZ.

"This is not the end of the world. There are 400 people at Solid Energy who have lost their jobs and don't know what they are going to do. I have options so you have to keep it in perspective."

- Herald on Sunday

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