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TVNZ Welcomes Broadcasting Plan

03.02.2005

TVNZ Welcomes Broadcasting Plan

Television New Zealand has welcomed the announcement of future broadcasting direction by the Minister of Broadcasting the Hon. Steve Maharey.

The Chief Executive of TVNZ Ian Fraser said, “the plan released today recognises the value of public broadcasting and supports the special place of the public broadcasters. It also recognises that the ‘public value’ of TVNZ is at least as important as its commercial value.”

The planning document also provides for a mechanism for developing a level of direct funding to TVNZ to enable it to be a more complete public broadcaster, giving fuller effect to the TVNZ Charter.

Mr Fraser said a more secure level of direct funding would let TVNZ plan with greater confidence.

“Right now”, Mr Fraser said, “TVNZ is obliged to rely on its commercial revenue stream to a far greater extent than any other similar public television broadcaster in the world, so we are particularly pleased that the Government is willing to consider exploring an appropriate ratio of commercial to non-commercial funding for TVNZ. This will provide a guide to content planning over a longer timeframe and will give us more of the stability and certainty that we need to do our job well and provide the best level of support we can to the New Zealand independent screen industry”, Mr Fraser said.

“Over the past two years TVNZ has been operating under the Government’s TVNZ Charter providing an increasing amount of the sort of public service programming that private commercial channels don’t and won’t provide. The New Zealand Festival documentaries and the epic outside broadcast coverage of the return of the Unknown Warrior are just two recent examples of this sort of programming. This is consistent with our view that TVNZ’s key function as a public broadcaster has to do with national identity and culture – reflecting New Zealand as compellingly as we can to New Zealanders. That is what it means when we label TVNZ “Our Nation. Our Voice”.

Mr Fraser said he was particularly pleased to see the plan recognises that public broadcasters are most likely to be able to act in the public interest when they are ‘not dominated by commercial pressures or subject to political influence and when they have available the incentives, tools and resources to act in the public interest’.

“TVNZ is a politically and commercially independent organization and we guard that independence jealously. I’m delighted that this document publicly acknowledges the importance of this principle”, Mr Fraser said.

ENDS


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