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Plunket argues Radio New Zealand discriminated against him

Monday 19 Oct 2009 5:02 p.m.

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By Rachel Morton
Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report presenter Sean Plunket has taken his employer to the Employment Relations Authority over not being allowed for other media.

Mr Plunket claims he is being discriminated against but Radio New Zealand says it does not want him damaging the network’s impartiality.

Inside court Mr Plunket talked about how his employer had made him distressed at the prospect of losing his job and treated him with malice.

Radio New Zealand had refused to give Mr Plunket permission to moderate two TVNZ pre-election debates and denied him the chance to write a monthly column for Metro magazine.

Mr Plunket remained tight-lipped about his case.

“Because it is now before the Employment Relations Authority, I’m not in a position to discuss it any further, but I do have belief in my case and also great faith in Geoff Davenport my legal counsel.”

He claims he was told by RNZ management that he was part of the broadcaster’s brand and that anything he said or did anywhere would reflect on it.

If he did not accept their conditions, Mr Plunket says he was told that if he did not like it he could get another job.

Other RNZ staffers Kim Hill and Chris Laidlaw said they had done work for other media, but RNZ argued they are entertainers and did not have the same responsibilities.

Mr Plunket pointed out that other presenters like Simon Morton were able to do work for TVNZ.

RNZ CEO Peter Cavanagh said there was no blanket ban on secondary employment, but that he drew the line at work that would threaten the impartiality his station aimed for.

He argued that a political column, which would include opinion would do that.

He went on to say that he has a good working relationship with Mr Plunket, except when he has to say ‘no’.

The case will continue later this week.

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