Former host Kevin Milne reacts to Fair Go axing announcement

"Devastated and heartbroken" - those are two words staff and management used as TVNZ confirmed plans to cut high-profile shows like Fair Go and Sunday

Midday and Tonight news programmes would also go, while youth news Re: would lose half its staff. 

Staff were told in meetings on Friday but the union has said it's planning to fight back. 

"Certainly, nobody wants to be a CEO and/or a participant in some... hard, hard news like this to share," TVNZ boss Jodi O'Donnell said. "So, I think it would be fair to say that everyone's heartbroken."   

The planned cuts run deep, including Fair Go - the popular consumer rights programme. 

Fair Go's staff said they are devastated by plans to axe the show.

"And we've been given an opportunity to come up with a plan and we are going to do the best we can to come up with a better plan because we want Fair Go to keep on going," reporter Garth Bray said. 

But if it goes, "it's the end of something very special in New Zealand that may not happen anywhere else in the world in that you could walk into store, anywhere that you were getting a bad deal and say, 'I'm going to Fair Go,'" former presenter Kevin Milne said. 

Former host Kevin Milne reacts to Fair Go axing announcement
Photo credit: TVNZ

Also on the chopping block is the Sunday current affairs programme and about 20 staff. 

In a statement, Sunday said: "A healthy democracy relies on the ability of experienced journalists to decipher, in-depth, the state of our country, our identity and to hold power to account." 

Former Sunday reporter Ian Sinclar said New Zealanders "need to be very afraid". 

"Who's there now to protect you, to protect your interests, to keep the politicians honest?" 

And the cuts carry on. As well as the Midday news, 1 News Tonight could cease. 

Meanwhile, youth channel Re: News could see staff numbers halved. 

All up, 33 news staff and 35 across other departments would go - that's 9 percent of the workforce. 

Asked whether she was confident TVNZ had looked at every other avenue before this, O'Donnell said: "Absolutely. We have.  

"We've looked at every single option available. And we'll continue to do that."  

News staff have seven days to give feedback and their union says it will fight the proposals. 

"Just rolling out cuts and not having a plan for the future of journalism at TVNZ is no way forward and that's what needs to happen now," said the E tū union's Michael Wood - a former Labour minister. 

A decision will be made in early April. 

If the restructuring goes ahead come May, some very familiar shows and faces will disappear from living rooms.