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2019 World Rugby Cup Reporter Staff Travel costs, Accomodation & Expenses.

Kevin Coombs made this Official Information request to Television New Zealand Limited

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From: Kevin Coombs

Dear Television New Zealand Limited,

Could you please provide a breakdown of the costs of Reporting staff along with Camera Operators & Produces who went to Japan to cover the 2019 World Rugby Cup, all travel, accommodation & expenses, taxis, food & the like, who went, the numbers of times they went & for how long each trip? This is to cover all staff, TV1 News & 7 Sharp, not just those traditional Sports reports & to include ancillary trips such as to Ireland & England to report on supporters made during the Semi Final phase of the competition.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Coombs

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From: Brent McAnulty
Television New Zealand Limited


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Dear Mr Coombs

 

We have received your email requesting information related to the costs of
staff ending the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo.

 

We will respond to your request in due course.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Brent McAnulty
General Counsel and Corporate Affairs Director

d.  +64 9 916 7935
m. +64 27 226 4913

 

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From: Brent McAnulty
Television New Zealand Limited


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Dear Mr Coombs

 

I refer to your request regarding the cost involved in sending news
reporters and crew to Japan to cover Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC 2019).

 

TVNZ’s coverage of RWC 2019 was two-fold:  it provided on-site and
in-studio production for both Spark Sports and TVNZ, and covered the event
as one of the major scheduled news events of 2019.  Your request seems to
be covering the latter.

 

In any event, the amount of money spent on covering an event such as RWC
2019 is commercially sensitive, and therefore withheld under Section
9(2)(i) of the Act. 

 

We can say however that as the event ran from late September to early
November, we rostered a team of reporters and camera crew who were each
engaged for parts of the event.  Not all the reporters you may have seen
reporting from Japan were there for the entire tournament, and many of the
team performed multiple roles while on assignment. 

 

TVNZ strongly believes that the investment in sending our team to Japan to
cover this event for was justified, given its prominence and importance to
New Zealanders.  1 NEWS at 6 is New Zealand’s top rated programme, and
reaches an average audience of 628,400 people very night.  The reporters
we went worked across the news day on shows such 1 NEWS (all editions),
Seven Sharp, Breakfast and Te Karere, as well as on our 1 NEWS NOW site. 

 

In our view the withholding of the information is not outweighed by other
considerations which render it desirable in the public interest to make it
available.   In accordance with Section 19(b) of the Act we advise that
you have the right to seek an investigation and review of the above
refusal by making a complaint under Section 28(3) to an Ombudsman.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Brent McAnulty
General Counsel and Corporate Affairs Director

 

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Luke left an annotation ()

Brent is incorrect to withhold the figures.

Section 9(2)(i) of the Act protects information where it is necessary to enable TVNZ to carry out 'commercial activities' without disadvantage or harm. Brent doesn't elaborate on how releasing that figure would cause that disadvantage or harm instead opting to say it is commercially sensitive. It may be commercially sensitive but that is not how the Act is worded. I do not believe that if TVNZ released these figures would it cause harm or disadvantage.

Secondly if you can find public interest reasons why the information should be released, you will stand a better chance. Brent has even given you a hand, explaining the audience reach for 1 News and how important the programme is, even more reason to release the information as explained in that paragraph.

You should ask the Ombudsman to review TVNZs decision.

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