Auckland lawyer Miriam Dean has been appointed as the new chair of NZ on Air, adding a wide variety of roles including president of the Bar Association, deputy chair of Auckland Council Investments and a trustee of Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss announced the change yesterday after the departure of current chair Neil Walter.
Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran had expressed concern that current board member Stephen McElrea could get the job as chair. Mr McElrea is Prime Minister John Key's electorate chair and has come under concerted criticism by Ms Curran after he raised concerns about the timing of a documentary on child poverty screening in the week before an election.
Mr Walter had consistently defended Mr McElrea saying all board members put aside political beliefs when making decisions.
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Mr Foss said Ms Dean's background in Crown governance gave her the experience to provide leadership at a time of rapid technological change.
NZ on Air has a budget of about $128 million, most of which is given out as funding. Last year, television programme makers got $84 million, radio got $32.7 million. The remainder was split between community broadcasting, music, and digital archives.
Ms Dean is new to the board of NZ on Air. She was made a Companion of the Order of Merit for services to law and business in 2010 and was a member of the Auckland Transition Authority which managed the amalgamation of Auckland's city councils into the Auckland Council.
She is also a director of Crown Fibre Holdings, responsible for the Government's billion dollar investment in high speed broadband.
Ms Dean was the first woman to be made a partner at Russel McVeagh and the first female president of the Bar Association.