My good friend Brian Edwards has this to say about Shane Taurima and his actual conflict of interest:
There was nothing terribly complex about Shane Taurima‚Äôs situation with regard to his job as Head of TVNZ‚Äôs ¬†Maori and Pacifica Department once he had, albeit unsuccessfully, ¬†sought the Labour Party nomination for the Rawhiti Ikaroa seat following the death of Parekura Horomia. Taurima had very publicly nailed his political colours to the mast. In doing so he had effectively disbarred himself from any further involvement in News or Current Affairs broadcasting with the state broadcaster. The potential conflict of interest could not have been more clear.
Television New Zealand apparently did not see it that way. Perhaps they thought that Taurima‚Äôs failure to actually win the nomination made all the difference. He had been a¬†would-be¬†Labour candidate, not an¬†actual¬†Labour candidate. ¬†(And, as it turned out,¬†would be¬†again.) That rationalisation is so facile as to be laughable. Taurima was politically tainted. He should not have been re-employed in his previous role. But he was.
When he took things even further and ¬†turned his TVNZ office into a Maori/Pacifica Labour Party branch, Taurima did his employer a favour. ¬†Without actually hanging portraits of Savage, Fraser and Kirk on the walls, the conflict of interest in which he and others in his department now found themselves could not have been more patent. To his credit, Taurima had the grace and good sense to resign.
He resigned because the case was so clear cut there was no other option. Unfortunately for Shane Taurima he thought Labour would stand by their electorate chair, instead they have given him the cold-face and turned their back.
There is actually nothing new about all of this. The list of television and radio¬† broadcasters working in news and current affairs who are or have been simultaneously engaged in activities which conflict with their obligation to be and be seen to be utterly impartial in all matters relating to their jobs, is extremely long. They may well be in the majority. Conflicts of interest among such practitioners abound.