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Youth Radio Costs Grossly Understated

31 January 2002

The Government has grossly understated the costs of setting up a youth radio network, documents released by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage under the Official Information Act show, National's Broadcasting Spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

Last year a draft Cabinet paper estimated the youth radio network would cost $2.5 million to set up and $2.2 million a year to operate.

In a paper released by Mrs Rich today a Ministry of Economic Development official estimated the start-up cost for the network will be more than $6 million. "The first year estimates predict costs in excess of $6 million - $3 million for spectrum, $2.5 million for transmission and $500,000 for one studio.

"These escalated costs don't include staff, programming costs or planned mobile broadcast facilities which will take the figure even higher.

"Industry sources have confirmed to me that the market value of the spectrum should be double. Couple that with programme, staff, and extra studio costs and the Government will be lucky to get any change from $10 million - the final figure could be closer to $14 million to set up and run for one year.

"It's a waste of money considering that there has been no push for a network from young people. Marian Hobbs should come clean and let the public know exactly how much her pet project is going to cost.

"While the Government is keen to set up a local equivalent of Australia's Triple J, it's clear that the only thing that will triple for the New Zealand taxpayer is the cost," Katherine Rich said.

Ends

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