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Slash and burn at TVNZ

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokesperson

2 October 2001

Slash and burn at TVNZ

TVNZ's cost-cutting exercise euphemistically called 'Project Renewal' would be better named 'Project Slash and Burn', National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"TVNZ's announcement of cost-cutting and people redundancies confirms once again National's concerns about the deterioration of TVNZ's financial position.

"Without new Government money, TVNZ is struggling to prepare for the Charter. The first cuts were to cellphones, chocolate biscuits and pot plants. Now they have been forced to cut people and there are more redundancies to come.

"The fact that the $15 million in savings already identified is not enough to get TVNZ out of the red will send shivers down the spines of remaining staff and decimate what little morale is left.

"TVNZ have now set a target of $40 million in savings but there will also be costs as a result of these changes. Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs should come clean about what the full cost to the taxpayer of all these redundancies will be.

"To implement public service broadcasting objectives you need a strong public broadcaster. If things don't improve TVNZ is on the fast track to irrelevancy within the New Zealand broadcasting industry.

"Marian Hobbs will try and put a positive spin on this cost-cutting exercise. But the fact is that under her stewardship TVNZ has become a pale shadow of its former self. This is what happens when you don't understand business and fail to understand that ministerial edicts like charters and local content quotas cost money," Katherine Rich said.

Ends




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