Business Insider: Fresh details emerge about Sean Plunket’s media ambitions

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Plans are apparently underway to create a new media platform for New Zealanders who claim to have been exiled from existing media platforms.

Integral to this is former Magic Talk radio host Sean Plunket, who is now listed as a director of a newly formed media company.

The company, dubbed Impartial Media, was quietly registered on the Companies Office last month and is fully owned by Wellington-based Mark Jones. Sources say an online radio show called The Platform is being worked on.

Asked for further details, Plunket was tight-lipped, telling the Insider it already had the information required for a story.

“I really think New Zealand needs impartial media, don’t you?” Plunket quipped.

Asked whether it was accurate that he would be hosting a show called The Platform, Plunket sidestepped, simply inferring that he believed people deserved “a platform, if such a thing exists”.

Business Insider remains sceptical about whether it will come to fruition, but it’s understood the founders are hoping to raise in the vicinity of $3 million to $4 million to launch the media service in New Zealand.

Sources suggested to the Herald that media personalities Martyn Bradbury, Damien Grant, Debra Coddington and Karl Du Fresne may be involved in the project in some capacity.

Plunket wouldn’t be drawn into commenting on the specifics, simply describing the list of individuals as “an interesting group of people”.

Grant, who previously contributed to Plunket’s radio show, confirmed that he was aware of Plunket’s plans.

While he said the objective was ambitious, he said he would be happy to be involved if it hit the airwaves.

“If anyone can pull it off, it’s Sean,” Grant told the Herald.

“He’s plugged into the zeitgeist and had a loyal following on his talkback shows throughout his broadcast career.”

Plunket may have had a long career, but it has been marred by controversy.

Plunket has long been a militant supporter of unfiltered free speech and the Herald understands that his new project will provide a platform for commentators who struggle to express their views elsewhere.

Several sources have previously told the Herald that rich lister Sir Owen Glenn will be backing the project in some capacity.

Bill Birnie, a business associate of Glenn, told Business Insider it was still early days in regard to this project and would not elaborate further.

Bank taps former NZX CEO

Former NZX chief executive Tim Bennett has been appointed a director of Bank of China (New Zealand), replacing former finance minister Ruth Richardson.

Bank chairman Chris Tremain said Bennett’s experience across the financial sector would support the bank’s ambition to be New Zealand’s leading global bank.

Richardson, who has been on the board since its inception, is stepping down in accordance with the rotation required under the bank’s governance policy.

Bennett has most recently been working in Kazakhstan, setting up the AIX, a new securities exchange.

He has extensive experience in capital, commodity and financial markets, banking and retail financial services in New Zealand, the United States Australia and Asia, Tremain said.

Bank of China saw its net profit increase 392 per cent last year and has been looking to double the size of its mortgage book to around $2 billion.

Mike Tod off to CBA

Mike Tod, former chief marketing and customer officer at Air New Zealand, is to cross the ditch for a top job at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

Tod officially stepped away from Air New Zealand on May 31 last year but stayed on to provide advisory support to CEO Greg Foran and the board. He will be head of corporate affairs for the bank which is Australia’s largest.

Tod spent 17 years at the airline helping build it into a brand that definitely overshot its size.

Tod’s new job will see him reunited with other former Air New Zealand staffers. He will be boss of ASB’s new head of corporate affairs Marie Hosking who joined the bank in August last year.

Hosking spent nine years at Air New Zealand, finishing up in August 2019 before doing a short stint at Suncorp in between the airline and the bank roles.

Former Air New Zealander Brigitte Ransom is also at ASB, joining the bank in January from Suncorp.

The bank and the airline have had numerous links over the years and will also soon share the same chair.

Dame Therese Walsh, who is Air New Zealand’s chair, will take over as chair of ASB from September after sitting on the board since 2015.

New Zealand business stalwart Sir Ralph Norris was also CEO of ASB before heading up the airline, later returning to the bank to become CEO of its parent CBA.

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