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Final TVNZ 'Death Warrant' Charter

Sunday 11 February 2001

Mccully Releases Final TVNZ 'Death Warrant' Charter

National MP Murray McCully today released the final version of the Government's TVNZ Charter describing it as "a death warrant for TVNZ".

Mr McCully said it was quite apparent why the Minister had been avoiding releasing it. "The only way this Charter could work would be if Marian Hobbs confiscated every TV remote control in the country," he said.

"The first edict in the Charter is for TVNZ to 'promote Maori language and culture to all New Zealanders'. That is code for showing Maori language and culture programmes in prime time. Yet in the past few weeks TV One's attempts to anticipate the Charter by showing Cloak of Feathers, Nga Tohu: Signatures, and Feathers of Peace during prime time have been ratings disasters, forcing the channel to compensate short-changed advertisers.

"The Charter also directs that programmes dealing with 'minority interests' are to be shown to 'mass audiences'. It's authors fail to understand that mass audiences cease to be mass audiences as quickly as viewers can locate their remote controls when confronted by the politically correct programmes prescribed by Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs.

"There is an important distinction between directing TVNZ to service minority interests and directing them to ensure that 'all New Zealanders' and 'mass audiences' are to see politically correct programmes. The former could be seen as a sensible means of ensuring that a state broadcaster is making a special effort to screen programmes for minority groups that might be neglected by a private sector broadcaster. The latter category as contained in the Charter directs that Maori language, Maori culture and minority interest programmes are forced down the throats of unsuspecting viewers during prime time. Those times will cease to be prime very quickly.

"It is not going too far to describe this document as a death warrant for TVNZ - assessed by Government advisors last year as one of the five best businesses owned by the taxpayers of New Zealand. TVNZ's competitors will rub their hands with glee as hundreds of thousands of viewers and tens of millions of dollars desert the current market leader.

"TVNZ's profitability and value will be massively eroded by this Charter. It is richly ironic that Marian Hobbs, who has been so rabidly opposed to privatising TVNZ, will be the Minister who actually gives the company away to it's competitors," Mr McCully said.


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