close
MENU
Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
1 mins to read

TVNZ and Herald to pay '$15 million' defamation settlement

Television New Zealand and the New Zealand Herald were today tightlipped on their reported out of court "$15 million" settlement of a long-running defamation claim by Simunovich Fisheries.Neither Herald editor Tim Murphy nor TVNZ spin doctor Meg

Jock Anderson
Thu, 14 Jan 2010

Television New Zealand and the New Zealand Herald were today tightlipped on their reported out of court "$15 million" settlement of a long-running defamation claim by Simunovich Fisheries.

Neither Herald editor Tim Murphy nor TVNZ spin doctor Megan Richards returned calls from the National Business Review.

In proceedings which began five years ago Simunovich Fisheries and directors Peter Simunovich and Vaughan Wilkinson claimed $30 million defamation damages from the media companies.

TVNZ broadcast an apology to Simunovich on the 6pm news during this holiday period but no apology appeared to have been published in the Herald print edition.

However, many stories on the Herald website about the Simunovich allegations, some going back several years, now have unreserved apologies to Simunovich tagged on to them.

News of the defamation settlement appeared today on Vince Siemer’s website www.kiwisfirst.co.nz. which reported the confidential settlement, believed to be the biggest in the Commonwealth, was reached just before Christmas.

Mr Siemer reported it was unclear how the settlement would be allocated between TVNZ and the Herald.

TVNZ apologised for reporting third party evidence on an Assignment programme which alleged Simunovich Fisheries misrepresented scampi figures when securing government fishing quotas.

As NBR reported last August, the Supreme Court dealt a massive body blow to TVNZ and the Herald’s defence of Simunovich’s $30 million claim by ruling they could not rely on third-party evidence.

In a unanimous judgment the Supreme Court ruled the media companies would need to independently establish the facts from third parties as true if they were to be used at trial.

The Supreme Court found the material on which TVNZ and the Herald sought to base their defence of honest opinion on – and attract reporting privilege - could not be said to form fair and accurate reports.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who could not be contacted, still has an unresolved defamation claim arising from media coverage of his association with Simunovich Fisheries.

Jock Anderson
Thu, 14 Jan 2010
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
TVNZ and Herald to pay '$15 million' defamation settlement
1599
false