Ra­dio rant host wins dam­ages

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By TONY WALL

A for­mer Toko­roa ra­dio sta­tion manager who went live on air with al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial im­pro­pri­ety has won dam­ages against the sta­tion.

The Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity has ruled that Rosina Hauiti was un­jus­ti­fi­ably dis­missed by the trust, which runs the Toko­roa-based Raukawa FM.

Author­ity mem­ber Ta­nia Teti­taha or­dered the trust to pay Hauiti wage ar­rears of $8076 for un­fairly sus­pend­ing her with­out pay af­ter the inci- dent. It had claimed it couldn’t af­ford to pay the wages, but there was no ev­i­dence of that.

Teti­taha also or­dered the trust to pay Hauiti $1250 for ‘‘hurt and hu­mil­i­a­tion’’, which in­cluded a re­duc­tion of 75 per cent for Hauiti’s own ‘‘ con­trib­u­tory be­hav­iour’’.

In Septem­ber 2013 she went live on air to make al­le­ga­tions about money paid to prom­i­nent Maori broad­caster Kingi Bid­dle, hus­band of for­mer sta­tion manager Wendy Bid­dle.

She claimed she had been un­able to find most of the pro­gram­ming he was sup­posed to have de­liv­ered. She then bar­ri­caded her­self in an of­fice and left only when po­lice were called.

A sub­se­quent re­port for Maori fund­ing agency Te Man­gai Paho found more than $60,000 was paid to Bid­dle to pro­vide pro­gram­ming, but he had no writ­ten con­tract and in­voices were pro­vided ret­ro­spec­tively. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also found Wendy Bid­dle used an­other trustee’s on­line bank­ing pass­word to au­tho­rise the pay­ments.

There was no ev­i­dence money was mis­ap­pro­pri­ated.

Be­fore the con­tro­ver­sial broad­cast, Hauiti took the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of tres­pass­ing her own em­ploy­ers, three of the four trustees, be­cause she al­leged they were in­ter­fer­ing with the run­ning of the sta­tion.

That put the em­ploy­ers in an ‘‘ un­ten­able’’ sit­u­a­tion, Teti­taha ruled, as they couldn’t ac­cess the sta­tion.

It was a sack­able of­fence, but Hauiti had not been given a rea­son­able op­por­tu­nity to re­spond be­fore her dis­missal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.