Ralston in talks over TV exit pay

Bill Ralston, Television New Zealand’s head of news and current affairs, is negotiating an exit package after in effect being made redundant in a senior management shake-up.

Mr Ralston declined to comment yesterday. Asked if he would still be with the state broadcaster in a few weeks’ time, he said: “I’m not getting into these types of conversations.”

However, it was understood lawyers for TVNZ and Mr Ralston have already had talks about a severance package from his $300,000-plus a year job.

That suggested he was unlikely to be appointed to an expected newly created position, overseeing news and current affairs and a planned 24-hour news channel on digital television.

The board was briefed on the restructuring last week and endorsed it. Chief executive Rick Ellis was expected to tell staff of the changes in the next few days before making them public.

Mr Ellis told a parliamentary select committee in November that redundancies could be part of the planned restructuring.

TVNZ had suffered falling viewer numbers and declining advertising revenues in recent years.

Mr Ralston, a former journalist, was appointed in 2003 by former chief executive Ian Fraser, who said he had “a bit of mongrel”.

Last week TVNZ’s head of programme commissioning, Tony Holden, handed in his resignation.

One industry source said it was possible his replacement would take on the current affairs commissioning role now overseen by Mr Ralston.

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said she had no comment at this stage.

“We prefer to stick to our own timetable with any announcements on restructuring.”

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  • DanielM

    About bloody time!