Greens Want TVNZ's Independence Guaranteed In Law
Green party Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the Green Party supported the idea of giving more weight to TVNZ's public service objectives and quality programming by converting the organisation into a new Crown Owned Company.
"However, the Government would have greater control over a Crown Owned Company and this could translate into political interference", Ms Kedgley pointed out. "The Green Party would therefore want to see the editorial independence of the new Crown Owned Company jealously protected in legislation."
Ms Kedgley said the party does not believe present clauses in the Charter go far enough. "TVNZ is, after all, a member of the fourth estate, so we would want to see specific clauses which would make it illegal for any politician or politically appointed board member to interfere in the editorial independence of the organisation and especially its news and current affairs," she said.
Ms Kedgley said the Green Party opposed the idea of shortfalls in TVNZ's budget being dependent on top-ups in the annual government budget cycle.
"We want to see TVNZ financially independent of government, not having to turn up cap in hand each year to argue for additional funding. Being locked into the annual budget cycle would make it difficult to plan strategically and open it up for political interference," she said.
The Green party wants the organisation to be able to retain BCL's profits, and does not believe the company should be expected to return a dividend.
"We don't want to see TVNZ financially weakened as it heads into the highly competitive digital era," she said.
Ms Kedgley said she was also concerned that giving the organisation the mixed objectives of having to focus on public service objectives while remaining self funding could result in confusion unless clear priorities were set.