Convicted sex offender hired as What Now camera op also worked with kids at NZ Football - report

The man was hired as a contractor by production company 90 Seconds to work with children for an NZ Football project.
The man was hired as a contractor by production company 90 Seconds to work with children for an NZ Football project. Photo credit: Getty

A convicted paedophile who worked as a cameraman for the popular kids' TV show What Now also reportedly worked with minors at NZ Football.

NZ Football was only made aware of the man's sex offender status by NZME after the media outlet uncovered his employment history

The association, which coaches children aged four to 12, said it is "deeply disturbed" by the revelations. It confirmed the man - who cannot be named - was contracted by production company 90 Seconds to do promotional work for NZ Football, which involved children.

In a statement, NZ Football said it was "absolutely appalling" that 90 Seconds had kept the man's criminal background quiet, despite learning of his history in March. 

In June, it was revealed that the man - who had served jail time for sexually abusing underage girls several years ago - had worked as a freelance camera operator for What Now. The sex offender had been hired by production company Whitebait Media, co-owned by presenter Jason Gunn, without a background check.

The man is once again before the courts, facing nine counts of possessing, distributing, exporting and making child sexual abuse material, according to court documents obtained by NZME.

While awaiting trial, the man has been prohibited from making contact with children as per his bail conditions. However, NZ Football says 90 Seconds did not carry out the appropriate background checks before hiring the man as a contractor. 

"It is our expectation that they should have carried out appropriate background checks and the fact 90 Seconds didn't do this is extremely concerning," it said in the statement.

"We have discovered that 90 Seconds have known this individual's criminal history since March 2020 but not told affected parties which is absolutely appalling."

NZ Football understands it's one of several organisations to be exposed to the convicted sex offender through his contract work with 90 Seconds, a revelation it says is of "huge concern" if other potentially affected parties have not been notified.

Children who participated in last year's promotional work were reportedly fully supervised by both parents and police-vetted NZ Football employees.

90 Seconds founder Tim Norton apologised for the "grave error" and said affected parties will be issued personal apologies. 

He also questioned why the paroled sex offender was permitted to work in the community while before the courts on child sexual abuse imagery charges.

The company will now implement a stringent new screening process for all prospective staff, as well as new safety measures to protect women and children. 

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