TVNZ's sales team is in upmarket Queenstown for a three-day pow-wow as the state broadcaster heads for a $17m loss.
A spokeswoman for TVNZ said the trip was a planning session that was always been going to happen. The location was selected to reward staff.
• TVNZ boss's three-point turnaround plan
"The destination was due to meeting targets. The work would take place regardless of location. They were preparing with a lot of hard work before they left," she said.
A number of questions about the trip - including its cost and the number of people who had jetted into the tourist town - were not immediately answered. But the spokeswoman did confirm that CEO Kevin Kenrick was not on the trip.
Last month Kenrick refused to tell the Herald if he had been paid a bonus for the company's 2019 financial year, ending June 30. He said it was a matter that would be dealt with in the state broadcaster's annual report, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament next week.
Last year, Kenrick pocketed a $460,054 bonus that took his total remuneration to $1.43m (a $73,334 increase over 2017) and dwarfed a $1000 incentive payment to rank-and-file staff members.
On August 29, TVNZ reported its full-year net-profit had halved to $2.9m and suspended its dividend to the Government for the foreseeable future.
Kenrick, who pegged the profit fall on unfavorable exchange rate movements, said the broadcaster was heading for a $17m loss in 2020 as it embarked on a three-year restructure.
The CEO's turnaround plan includes a 26 per cent (or roughly $20m) increase in spending on local productions next year.
Kenrick said the ramp-up in spending on local content was in reaction to the likes of Netflix, Amazon and the pending Disney+ and Apple TV+ globalising the entertainment market.
He also said TVNZ was embarking on its three-year turnaround plan off a strong base.
"We made $26m ebitda [in FY2019]. We expect our revenue [$310m in 2019] next year to be pretty stable. We expect some softening in TV but that will be offset by the Rugby World Cup and what we do in OnDemand," he says.
TVNZ could potentially make hay from the tournament. If Spark Sport's stream goes south, the plan is to transfer games on to TVNZ's Duke channel within four minutes. The free-to-air broadcaster will be carrying 12 games, including all of the All Blacks matches, regardless.
Kenrick quoted stats showing strong growth in TVNZ's streaming offering.
It achieved 80 per cent year on year growth in viewership to record 184 million video streams for FY2019, reaching 141,145 daily. And it delivered year-on-year increases in weekly audience reach (+38 per cent) and advertising revenue (+31 per cent).
But the CEO won't put a dollar figure for that 31 per cent increase, however, making it impossible to say how well.