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Mysterious disappearance of Minister

Katherine Rich National Party Broadcasting Spokesperson

1 February 2002

Mysterious disappearance of Minister

The post-Christmas phone call from Helen Clark has shut Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs up altogether, says National Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich.

"Getting a personal comment on broadcasting out of the Minister is now as rare as a yeti sighting. Is she still in the country? Is she still the Minister?

"It is time for Hobbs to earn her salary and front on broadcasting issues. She could start by commenting on the Ministry of Economic Development cost estimates for her promised youth radio network which showed that the network could cost double or even triple the previously reported figure.

"The Minister still hasn't answered the questions put to her. Her spokespeople may dismiss the new costings as 'irrelevant' and 'historical', but the Minister is deluded if she still thinks a youth radio network can be set up for just $2.5 million.

"The plan has morphed into a far more expensive concept than first envisaged. The YRN radio 'expert' group which reported before Christmas was planning mobile broadcasting units, a second studio, drama and comedy productions, internationally sourced programming, and websites to name but a few dollar-hungry ideas. There are also significant extra costs like staffing, maintenance, electricity and depreciation that the original estimates did not take into account.

"When she has spoken in the past about youth radio, Hobbs has done nothing but dawdle and waffle on this issue. The question has to be asked - what has she been doing for the last two years - and what is she doing now?"

ENDS


Appendix: Timeline of Hobb's dawdling on youth radio

Labour will: Reserve an FM frequency for youth programming to enable existing and future youth programmes to be networked -Labour Broadcasting Policy 1999

Marian Hobbs said she hopes to have the broad policy objectives approved by the end of May. -Hobbs Press Release 11th April 2000

The Government was considering rules about local content, allocating new frequencies to special-interest groups, and more youth radio, Ms Hobbs said. -"Hobbs wants to play role", The Press, pg 7, 15th May 2000

A spokesman for Hobbs said no decisions had been made on the network and discussions were continuing before the matter was considered by cabinet. -Sunday Star Times, 28th January 2001

The government is still considering all options for youth radio, Broadcasting Minister, Marian Hobbs, said today. "No decisions have been taken." -Hobbs Press Release 14th August 2001

He said no final decisions had been made on the network. Announcements were expected in about two months. -Spokesman for Marian Hobbs, 31st January 2002

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