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TVNZ to be charter-focused crown company

25 June 2001 Media Statement

TVNZ to be charter-focused crown company

TVNZ will be re-established under its own legislation as a crown owned company, the Minister of Broadcasting, Marian Hobbs, announced today. This will enable TVNZ to give priority to fulfilling its charter while maintaining its financial performance.

Broadcast Communications Ltd and TVNZ Australia will be retained as separate companies within the TVNZ group to operate as successful businesses and, as far as practicable, be independent of TVNZ. The status of these two subsidiaries will be reviewed after two years to see whether they should be changed to stand-alone State Owned Enterprises.

"The value of TVNZ to the nation is not only what is on its balance sheet but also what it delivers on our screens," Marian Hobbs said. "The changes mean that TVNZ will be able to focus on meeting its obligations as a public broadcaster with its own charter, just as happens with public broadcasters worldwide and our own Radio New Zealand.

"It will involve a shift in culture away from a strict commercial focus which will create great opportunities for TVNZ staff and the New Zealand creative industry generally.

"TVNZ with over 70 per cent of the market is a successful broadcaster and I expect they will retain their audiences as the charter is implemented gradually.

"The government has noted that funding, additional to what is provided through NZ on Air, may be required to enable TVNZ to give fuller effect to the charter. This will be determined during the 2002 Budget and subsequent rounds.

"In the meantime TVNZ will be invited to re-examine how it prioritises and targets its substantial programming budget."

Marian Hobbs said officials will report back by late August on the implementation of establishing TVNZ as a new Crown company and they will also report on proposals for the operational and governance independence of BCL and TVNZ.

She anticipated legislation to establish the crown company would be passed to enable the Charter to take effect from July 1, 2002.

ENDS

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