Close Up

presenter Mark Sainsbury appears to have won backing from high places after complaining that he did not feel safe in his job.

This column has reported in the past that

Close Up


producer Mike Valintine favoured once-a-week host Paul Henry - and his more sharply honed interview style - over Sainsbury.

Valintine, who has a highly tabloid news sense, has a good rapport with the TVNZ head of news and current affairs, Anthony Flannery.

Henry made it plain in this column he wanted Sainsbury's job.

It is understood that Sainsbury was unhappy about ongoing speculation about Henry replacing him.

A source said that Sainsbury had directly approached chief executive Rick Ellis and explained that he was disappointed the company was not standing by him and rebutting media rumours that Henry was being groomed for his job.

Ellis was supportive, a source said. Mike Hosking is now filling in for Sainsbury instead of Henry, and TVNZ is looking at options to make use of


host Henry's tabloid talents.


Flannery is keen to bring Tim Wilson back from New York. One option would be to put Wilson on


if Henry moved to a new show.


One option is a chatty show to run on a weeknight before the news and featuring Paul Henry. The show would replace


, but even if it went ahead it would not launch until the second quarter of 2010.

Henry made a pilot for the show last week, but a TVNZ source says there is no confirmation that it will go ahead. There will be pressure on TVNZ to do something with Henry.

Initial planning is for the show to be "lighter than


" which suggests some of the cheap and cheerful stuff that Henry has been doing.

I have heard that there are elements that are "a bit out there".

A TVNZ staffer said the broadcaster was checking the numbers to find whether advertising will support the show and pay the costs of the production as well as a profit margin.

The news division has a reputation for providing low-cost content. Advertising consultant Martin Gillman said there was evidence that a strong 5.30pm show could boost news ratings - and those deliver a lot of TVNZ's profits.

TV3 proved that with Aussie soap

Home & Away

, he said.


TV3 seems to be committed again to making John Campbell and

Campbell Live

a success. Through this year the show seems to have drifted but Campbell's new producer Pip Keane has started repairing some of the damage by taking it back to basics and putting Campbell where he shines - as an interviewer.

Keane has the rest of the year to sort out the problems, one hopes leading to a relaunch at the start of 2010.


There has been a flurry of comment in media about TV news this week with former


editor Karl Du Fresne questioning reporter comment.


columnist Bill Ralston - a former head of news and current affairs at TVNZ - questioned whether TV executives had forgotten about the importance of the news.

Left-wing columnist Chris Trotter criticised TVNZ's handling of the TVNZ 7 promo incident - where state TV provided a plug for National and Bill English.

I was struck watching

One News

on Wednesday night by what could be dubbed "the torrent of tacky tabloid TV terms" and by an item about the Hone Harawira saga in which reporter Jessica Mutch talked about Harawira's "outrageous" behaviour.

Du Fresne said: "What is noticeable about editorialising by TV journalists is that it seems calculated to exploit populist sentiment. They choose soft targets, playing to the public appetite for scapegoats and moral outrage."


Auckland University said that it would treat student plagiarism the same way it has Professor Witi Ihimaera, who was discovered to have plagiarised content for his book

The Trowenna Sea


Ihimaera has admitted the plagiarism and apologised.

Auckland University spokesman Bill Williams has offered some details on the institution's approach to plagiarism, which decided there would be no action against Ihimaera because his slip-up had been inadvertent.

Asked about the process for dealing with plagiarism, Williams said the Ihimaera matter was considered by Ihimaera's head of department, Professor Tom Bishop, as it would be for a student.

The university had received a detailed explanation and was satisfied that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by Ihimaera.

Asked if action would be taken against students accused of plagiarism if it was deemed to be inadvertent, the university said: "Action taken, if any, will depend on the wilfulness, extent and seriousness of the plagiarism."

The university said Ihimaera's profile and status did not play a role in its handling of the issue.

Colenso BBDO managing director Brent Smart is stepping away from a seismic shift in the New Zealand advertising business - and moving to California.

Smart's exit to the San Francisco office of the BBDO Group is expected to be announced this afternoon, and his replacement will probably be named.

The new boss will oversee some of New Zealand biggest-spending ad clients including Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Frucor and TVNZ.

Smart's move is big news in Adland.

The popular Aussie has headed Colenso through some of its most successful days.

But his move also coincides with an emerging upheaval at arch-rival Saatchi & Saatchi, where chief executive Andrew Stone and executive creative director Mike O'Sullivan are negotiating with Saatchi global boss Kevin Roberts.

They are leaving for points unknown but their departure marks the end of an era at Saatchi.

Their replacements - who will oversee accounts such Toyota Westpac, Tui and most significantly Telecom - are not clear.

But the duo are likely to negotiate big payouts that will see them through a period of restraint of trade, or gardening leave as it is called.

Both are well connected in the Kiwi corporate world and many in Adland predict they will eventually set up their own agency.


As reported last week, the imminent departure of Andrew Stone and Mike O'Sullivan happens amid tensions with the biggest advertiser and Saatchi's biggest account client - Telecom New Zealand.

That draws attention to the business relationship between the telco and one of its biggest suppliers.

Saatchi & Saatchi global president Kevin Roberts was appointed last year to the board of directors for Telecom. Telecom spokesman Mark Watts would not discuss the telco's relationship with Saatchi, but it is understood to have come under pressure with changes at Telecom.

He rejected a suggestion that Telecom had considered putting the business out to pitch and changed its mind.

Roberts' public relations advisers at Sweeney Vesty did not return an approach.

Watts said Roberts' position on the board would not see him discussing marketing contracts with executives. He said his appointment met all the requirements of the stock exchanges where Telecom is listed.

Watts stressed that Saatchi did not have an exclusive hold on Telecom's advertising business. For instance the new squiggly asterisk logo was designed by an outside design firm and not by Saatchi.