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Life’s a Pitch Proves a Hitch for TVNZ

Life’s a Pitch Proves a Hitch for TVNZ
Media Release from the EPMU and New Zealand Writers Guild (278 words)

28 April 2006

Two unions, the EPMU and New Zealand Writers Guild, today criticised an in-house competition being run by TVNZ.

The Life’s a Pitch contest invites TVNZ staff to pitch programme ideas to the content department. TVNZ takes the copyright to all entries.

“This competition is a real blow to the local industry,” said Guild Executive Director Dominic Sheehan. “The contest will flood TVNZ with no-cost ideas generated by their own workers and as a result TVNZ will be far less likely to purchase ideas from outside creatives. It’s hard enough to earn a living as a script writer in New Zealand. TVNZ just made it that much harder.”

Andrew Little, national secretary of the EPMU, pointed out that the contest also disadvantages TVNZ’s own employees. “Although it’s being sold to workers as a fun challenge an outside creative could expect thousands of dollars for this type of work. Instead, one winner gets a trip for two to Queenstown while TVNZ can use any idea submitted. These ideas could potentially earn TVNZ a fortune.”

TVNZ has flatly refused to amend the terms of the competition. “We’ve asked them to negotiate fair rates and conditions with their employees but they’ve declined,” said Sheehan. “They claim the contest is not focused on a production outcome – given that why is it necessary for TVNZ to take all the rights to the ideas submitted?”

Little pointed out “All this is in variance with the TVNZ Charter which requires it to ‘support and promote the talents and creative resources of New Zealanders and of the independent New Zealand film industry.’ In fact, it’s clear TVNZ don’t care about their own workers or the local industry.”


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