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Greens Oppose BCL Split-Off

The Green Party will not support any moves to separate off TVNZ's profitable arm BCL and other revenue generating commercial operations, and believes it is time for the Government to do a complete re-think of its broadcasting policy, Green party Broadcasting spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

With Cabinet due to consider broadcasting restructuring proposals next Monday, Ms Kedgley said the Greens wanted to signal that they saw no benefits but a great many risks in the Broadcasting Minister's proposal to split off BCL as a separate company from TVNZ.

"The idea of TVNZ having to turn up to Government each year, cap in hand, seeking funding for programming fills us with horror," Ms Kedgley said. "It is a recipe for political interference and an undermining of the editorial and programming independence of TVNZ.

"If TVNZ is to remain a strong national broadcaster, it needs to have a healthy income stream which is independent of Government," she said.

"Separating off BCL would make the new enterprise ripe for sale by a future National party government."

Instead of splitting off BCL, Ms Kedgley said it was time for the Government to make good on its pre-election promise to allow TVNZ to retain a greater proportion of its potential dividend.

"Then TVNZ could concentrate on producing quality programming and meeting its new Charter obligations.

"It is totally unrealistic to continue to expect TVNZ to return a 70 per cent dividend to the Crown, and at the same time implement its obligations under its new public service Charter. This expectation also contravenes section seven of the SOE Act which stipulates that government should provide funding to an SOE if it sets it non-commercial objectives."

Ends


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