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Pathetic charter after 18 month wait

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokesperson

1 May 2001

Pathetic charter after 18 month wait

The no-substance Television New Zealand Charter launched today underlines the disaster that Broadcasting Minister is making of managing her portfolio, National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said

"Marian Hobbs is clearly not delivering on the commitments she made to improve television programming and reorganise broadcasting funding.

"It is bizarre that it took Ms Hobbs 18 months to produce this one-page bland document, but even more bizarre that it will take her another 14 months before it is implemented, then it will be a gradual implementation. Her progress is painfully slow.

"It's obvious the Minister can't implement the charter earlier because she's failed to win funding for it. Her advertising and movie tax research amounted to nothing and none of her NZ on Air cajoling is going to release more money TVNZ's way.

"The Charter should be delivering results but instead highlights that key questions on the future of TVNZ are left unanswered. How much is the Charter really going to cost taxpayers? How can TVNZ commit to it when separation of BCL hangs over its head? How will the Charter be measured?

"TVNZ's board of directors shouldn't be expected to develop a business plan and commit to it when the Government shareholder is so vague about its intentions and requirements. Let's hope their professional liability insurance is up to date.

"The Government has made a hash of the broadcasting portfolio since day one of its term. Leaving the Charter implementation until four months before the next election shows a total lack of confidence in its own broadcasting policy and a failure to understand how the broadcasting business is run.

"The Government is taking a good business and trashing it. It is ironic that the more the Government weakens TVNZ, the more the taxpayer will have to spend on ensuring proper levels of local content," Katherine Rich said.

Ends


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