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Hobbs destroys TVNZ

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokesperson

18 September 2001

Hobbs destroys TVNZ

Today's announcement that TVNZ's net profit and dividend are down 30% on last year confirms National's concerns about the deterioration of TVNZ's financial position, National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"When Labour promised to reduce TVNZ's dividend obligations no one thought the dividend cut would be because of lower profits. A once vibrant business owned by all New Zealanders is slowly grinding to a halt.

"Today's figures show the last six months has been a total disaster for TVNZ with it making only a $5.5 million net profit compared to a $24.5 million net profit in the six months to December 2000.

"Even more concerning is the prognosis for next year and the trend over time. It's likely that the situation is going to get worse as advertising markets continue to be soft, programming costs remain high and the company prepares for the Charter with no new funding.

"Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs will try and distance herself from the demise of the TVNZ business but the reality is her fingerprints are all over this mess.

"She failed to win any new funding for the Charter, she spooked advertisers by talking about schedule changes, and her suggested advertising regulation did nothing to preserve the faith of advertisers in television.

"This Government's lack of commercial nous is becoming obvious for all to see with the shocking state it has allowed Air New Zealand to get into. TVNZ's future is now uncertain and that's just another example of how inept this Government is when it comes to doing business.

"Marian Hobbs has overseen one of the largest drops in SOE shareholder value New Zealand's seen. She must explain to all New Zealanders, the shareholders of TVNZ, why," Mrs Rich said.


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