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Status Of TVNZ Needs To Be Resolved

Sunday 11 February 2001

"Marian Hobbs' dawdling around the issue of whether Television New Zealand is to remain a State Owned Enterprise or become a Crown Entity could soon put TVNZ in breach of the SOE Act. Although, with the behaviour of the SOE over the last few months there is a good argument to say it already is", National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"The SOE Act is clear. TVNZ's principal objective is to be a successful business. It must conduct its business in a manner that is as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown. Already some of TVNZ's actions are decidedly non-businesslike.

"No comparable business would ever jeopardize its viewership or its advertising support by taking a prime time audience and gifting it to competitors by playing worthy-but-dull minority shows.

"On a lesser note, no comparable business would jeopardize the privacy of a key staff member by discussing pay conditions with the media.

"Already the earning potential of TVNZ has been greatly affected by the naive expectations of bumbling government shareholders and the decisions made in anticipation of the Charter.

"The focus on who gets the dividend, such an important issue 12 months ago, is increasingly irrelevant. There can be no Cabinet squabble about who gets to keep the dividend when there isn't one in the first place," Katherine Rich said.


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