We partner with the business to achieve its strategic goals. We analyse and advise on ways to create value whilst navigating risk - be it legal, reputational or broadcast risk. More specifically we are responsible for legal compliance, external communications, government relations and content standards. I emphasise the word “advise” as we don’t play the veto card. Well, not often…

Each person in our team has specific areas of the business they partner with, but that doesn’t mean they exclusively handle all the work from those areas. We are keen to ensure that our lawyers get experience across the organisation.

Do you think the culture of an organisation impacts the delivery of legal services to that organisation and if so, how does the culture at TVNZ influence the TVNZ legal team?

Absolutely. TVNZ is a great place to work and we love the role that we play across the business. The lawyers are all well-known across the organisation, and encouraged to sit with and spend time with the teams they support.

The business welcomes our views, and empowers us to call out when things don’t seem right. We play an important role in communicating TVNZ’s strategic goals, value creation, supporting the business to partner well with others, and role-modelling the standards our viewers and advertisers expect.

What do you see as your key challenges and how do you plan to address these?

For us it is the daily reminder that while we may be a big player on the domestic media front, we are dwarfed when it comes to the global giants that operate here in New Zealand. We do a fair amount of heavy lifting on industry matters, and we seek to maintain good relationships with our competitors’ legal teams.

We are passionate about the need for New Zealanders to hear their stories and voices, and there are massive challenges to find ways to maintain this.

What are the skills and attributes you look for when recruiting new lawyers for TVNZ?

The team as a whole is important, and trust and respect are central to this.

We unashamedly look for the right person, ahead of the right lawyer. For us that means someone that is keen to work with and learn from the business, who is approachable, creative, solution-focused, enjoys their work and can apply a commercial lens to their advice. When we recruit we seldom look for a direct replacement. Losing one of the team is always difficult, but it gives us the opportunity to develop lawyers into roles they are keen on, and then solve for the gap that is left. We’ve had senior lawyers replace junior lawyers, and vice versa.

Throughout its history TVNZ has always had good lawyers – the difference now is that we are building more bench strength across disciplines which are all quite different (e.g. News  / commercial / corporate / technology / IP / partnering / competition law).

Do you plan to roll out any new approaches or technology in the next 12 months and if so, what problems are you trying to solve?

TVNZ is embarking on rapid change and re-invention. We spend a lot of time looking ahead and advising on potential changes in the law and our industry to help equip our business to compete effectively. Our AR news graphics are an example of this – we love working on these projects.

We are always re-evaluating the level of legal work we get involved in. We have a good sized team, but TVNZ hasn’t traditionally had commercial or strategic managers so the lawyers pick up a lot of this work. That is rewarding, but we empower the business to solve for lower level, high volume work themselves.