Television New Zealand is adamant the scrapping of up to 12 journalists' jobs because of cuts at 20/20 is not linked to an expensive makeover to squeeze more people into a glammed-up network centre.
The broadcaster is six months into a two-year transition for the building, and 480 of about 730 staff are temporarily in the nearby Telecom building.
The revamp of the Victoria St West network centre will reflect the glamour of a media company, but TVNZ knows office makeovers draw public scrutiny.
"You are not going to see any gold-plated taps in the bathrooms," says spokeswoman Megan Richards.
The Government forced the makeover on TVNZ, insisting it sell its Hobson St site and squeeze studios, offices and staff into the main building.
TVNZ did not want to sell, but the Government had done a deal with SkyCity Entertainment, which will use the Hobson St site for its planned convention centre.
TVNZ says any savings from staff cuts will be spent on other current affairs programmes, but its promise is vague and impossible to confirm.
And handing over cash to the unloved current affairs department seems unlikely, as TVNZ - like all traditional media companies - is under pressure to make a bigger return for shareholders.
For TVNZ there are other factors at play, including a deep-seated failure among corporate management to recognise the importance of a vibrant and proactive news and current affairs department.
TVNZ is deeply entrenched in a strategy that has decided the future of its news and current affairs operation. Long-time industry consultant Michele Romaine has had a big influence on how the division is run.
Romaine was formerly an executive with the BBC, and supporters say she has provided strategic direction that was lacking.
In my view, her influence is amplified by the lack of strategic smarts at TVNZ.
Sources say TVNZ corporate management knows nothing about news, and Romaine speaks jargon that management understands.
As a result, TVNZ has become wedded to her ideas and significant resources have been used in implementing them.
I understand that when Australian head of news and current affairs Ross Dagan arrived at TVNZ in 2012, he was advised he could not change the systems she introduced. He left TVNZ after just 10 months and went back to Australia.
Bang for buck
Dagan's parting gift to TVNZ was Seven Sharp, which was heavily influenced by TVNZ marketers. Sources say Romaine's role after Dagan left was to focus on its lighter touch, though that proved disastrous, and the show imploded at the end of last year.
Under a new producer and new presenters, Seven Sharp has returned to a more traditional format focused on the news story of the day. Hosts Mike Hosking and Toni Street have a rapport that appeals to a segment of the audience and Hosking has been given a say in the show's wider content.
It is not surprising TVNZ wants Hosking to provide comment too, so it can get more bang for its buck.
He is believed to be making $600,000 a year with TVNZ, though this could not be confirmed.
Sex at midnight
Costly mistakes are not always management's fault. It is often mentioned that TVNZ has suffered from political meddling and restructuring. That is true in the case of a show called Passion in Paradise, a history of sex in New Zealand which is being played at midnight and is available on TVNZ On Demand.
The series features a group of postgraduate students studying the sexual history of New Zealand, who discover as much about their own relationships as they do about the past.
The five-part series was commissioned eight years ago under the TVNZ charter as a commercially risky series, and was allocated a $1.2 million budget. Documentary maker Bryan Bruce was delayed because of the success of his series The Investigators, and the legal controversy it sparked. The series was further delayed after a new National Government in 2008 led to the abolition of the charter, meaning the show could no longer be shown in prime time.
Bruce's solution was to envelop the documentary in a drama series about university students. The end result is a television hybrid that is oddly engaging, but risky for commercial TV.
Hence a $1.2 million TV show being played at midnight and online.
Media are hoping TV3's gratuitous screening of John Banks apparently eating his earwax has not created trouble for the judges' review of rules for TV cameras in courts. Submissions for the review close on Monday.
Justice Edwin Wylie punished TV3 by banning it from filming the rest of the Banks trial. Some lawyers - notably former Law Society president Jonathan Temm - have campaigned for more controls, saying news organisations see court as a form of reality TV, and their coverage does not reflect reality.
Media - who see courtroom video as an important source of content for online use - say having cameras in court makes the justice system more transparent.
The Auckland District Law Society discussed its submissions to the review on Wednesday - coincidentally, soon after TV3's booboo. Society president Brian Keene, QC, says Justice Wylie's reaction was definite and salutary.
"The whole incident shows a significant failure by particularly the TV media to understand the court rules."
Keene says the society believes justice is served by public access to courts, not "by addressing the public audience through snapshots and soundbites".
Blondini Gang to ride again with new Mini ads
The Blondini Gang are set to ride again Goodbye Pork Pie style with new Mini ads.
It's deja vu for Mini, whose ad agency DDB recently filmed a remake of famous scenes from the classic Kiwi film Goodbye Pork Pie. The Kiwi road movie had a cult appeal overseas and did wonders for the car's image.
So it's no wonder DDB wanted a reprise. The ad - which is yet to screen - is directed by Matt Murphy, the son of Geoff Murphy, director of the original movie.
There are some past associations for DDB. A former chief executive of the agency, Sandy Moore, was involved in the movie as well. Before going to DDB, Moore was head of advertising at the NZ Motor Corporation, the New Zealand outlet for Minis. Moore read the first pages of the script and thought it was a great promotion for Mini, which of course it was.
"But I didn't read the script about what happened to the cars for the rest of the movie," he says.
When the vehicles came back, they were not in great shape. "One of the cars was blown up, which we knew, and one was okay. As for the third, I thought it best to not return it to bosses in that shape."
Instead, he bought the Mini himself and gave it to his wife, who kept it for three years.