10th December 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | email@example.com | @foodtickernz
Privately owned agribusiness group Talley’s is suing Television New Zealand, claiming the network made a series of false and defamatory broadcasts about its operations.
The Motueka-based group today filed proceedings at Auckland’s High Court against Television New Zealand Ltd relating to news reports concerning the health and safety of its employees.
“The proceedings concern a series of false and defamatory broadcasts about TGL’s operations that TVNZ put to air and further publicised from 1 July 2021 to 22 November 2021,” Talley’s said in a statement this afternoon.
Talley’s said that it advised TVNZ prior to broadcast that the initial allegations, concerning the health and safety of employees spread across multiple worksites, were false and defamatory.
“Nevertheless, the TVNZ broadcasts asserted them as facts and made a series of false and defamatory imputations,” the company said.
As a result of the “seriousness of the assertions in TVNZ’s initial broadcasts in July,” Talley’s contracted former New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush to investigate the claims.
Bush’s investigations found that the assertions were either taken out of context, overstated or already identified and under action, addressed or remedied prior to the broadcasts, said Talley’s.
It added that the independent investigation found that “management’s commitment to health and safety at Ashburton and other Talley’s sites visited was of a high standard”.
“The systems, processes, and initiatives the company maintains to keep people safe were extensive, sound and continually improving.”
The company said Bush’s findings were communicated to TVNZ before its “most recent false and defamatory assertions concerning Talley’s compliance with ACC law, which were also denied prior to broadcast”.
Talley’s, which has four divisions comprising seafood, vegetables, dairy and meat, publicly released Bush’s report today.
Talley’s director Andrew Talley said it and its subsidiaries expected and accepted scrutiny from customers, consumers and the media but added that “neither we nor the New Zealand food industry can tolerate false and defamatory assertions being broadcast about our health and safety standards and the integrity of our company officers and employees”.
He said the broadcasts had “unfairly slighted hundreds of company employees and management teams who take their health and safety and other legal obligations extremely seriously”.
Talley’s is represented by Brian Dickey and Will Potter of law firm MC, New Zealand’s largest litigation firm.
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