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Politics Of Envy Shown By Holmes' Pay Cut

Sunday 11 February 2001

Government bullying that has forced Paul Holmes to take a pay cut is the Chinese Cultural Revolution Television New Zealand-style, National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"The edict to from Helen Clark to cut individual's salaries shows that this government is happy to beat anybody who has done well back into mediocrity.

"While the government and TVNZ board will wave around this decision like a prize scalp we really need to question where scapegoating like this is going to lead broadcasting and New Zealand in general.

"I can see Holmes' point about breach of confidentiality. When it is well known that there is only one person in the top income bracket at TVNZ, you don't need to be Einstein to work out who Mr Armstrong was referring to. TVNZ's desire to crow about the scalp has compromised an individual's right to privacy.

"From an international perspective, Paul Holmes' salary isn't even in the league of many TV weatherman in the United States. Here he is our top broadcaster who fronts one of New Zealand's most loved shows that is one of the biggest revenue earners for TVNZ.

"While it's true that his salary is 'taxpayers' money' his show has generated more money for the New Zealand taxpayer than any other in New Zealand's broadcasting history. In my view he's justified his existence many times over. Paul Holmes is not the devil here, the politics of envy and mediocrity are.

"The Government doesn't understand that TV people can leave New Zealand for better opportunities just like our nurses, teachers and professionals are doing. If New Zealand wants to be a world class country where talented people want to stay we've got to stop this jealously of those who do well.

"While Helen Clark scoffs at the portability of many of our broadcasters' skills there are plenty of examples where other New Zealand TV people have taken off for better opportunities," Katherine Rich said.


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