Electronic Data Systems Corporation

Sack Him

Rick "Oinko" Ellis

Rick "Oinko" Ellis - Trougher extraordinaire

Jonathan Marshal has once again skewered a troughing greedy little piggy, this time it is Rick Ellis the CEO of TVNZ.

TVNZ boss Rick Ellis has racked up more than $140,000 on his company plastic – including $32,000 entertaining – during a time of major redundancies at the broadcaster, a Sunday Star-Times survey of more than 100 public-sector chief executives has revealed.

Last night broadcasting minister Jonathan Coleman said he expected “restraint” from the broadcaster and would be asking for details from its chairman, Sir John Anderson.

“I’m sure all of the figures would be made available to me on Monday,” Coleman said.

Well if Jonathan Coleman can get the figures that will be interesting because….

…assessing just how Ellis spent $140,000 of TVNZ’s money was difficult. Citing commercial sensitivity, the broadcaster refused to hand over anything more than a grand total, broken down into broad categories. This included $11,765.52 on “miscellaneous” items. The broadcaster last night refused to say what they were. The ombudsman is investigating.

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said TVNZ would release only limited details of Ellis’s expenditure because “we are a commercial operation in a highly competitive, not to say cut-throat global industry. The kind of detail government departments may care to release is damaging to our competitive position.”

What a load of bollocks. This sort of obfuscation with public monies is untenable. Rick Ellis should be made to cough the details immediately as required by law. I seriously doubt a look at his credit card receipts would imperil any commercial relationship with anyone. By refusing to hand out the details it simply makes one wonder just exactly what he is hiding.

Richards said it was unfair for TVNZ to release its data when bosses of private companies Fairfax, APN, MediaWorks and Sky were not forced to.

But Maori TV CEO Jim Mather, also a state-owned enterprise boss, happily provided his credit card statements and receipts. Mather spent $19,632.53 in the same 24-month period.

Unfair…I’ll tell you what is unfair, being a taxpayer and coughing for Rick Ellis’ prodigious salary and then coughing again for $140k in expenses. It seems that yet again we have a person in the pay of the taxpayer/ratepayer who seems to think that it is a whole boat-load of fun to have us cover his every little expense. I’m glad to see too that Maori TV is a) circumspect with expenses, and b) honest and open as required by law.

If TVNZ thinks it is unfair to receive public monies and not account for it then how about we ratchet up the unfairness by selling the whole sorry-assed lot off to the highest bidder.

Rick Ellis was hired because Labour didn’t want the old plodder Ian Fraser and Rick Ellis was going to apply his technological genius to TVNZ. If that genius in business is that of another Rick Ellis who systematically rooted over Wang and EDS and has tanked revenues at TVNZ along with deploying set-top technology that no-one wants then I guess he is Labour’s man. Poor old Ian Fraser and Bill ralston were pilloried for much less, if consistency were to hold true then I would expect Labour’s broadcasting spokes-person to be calling for the hanging of Rick Ellis. Change would be a fine thing.