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Those Were Helen Clark's People Tonight

Those Were Helen Clark's People Tonight

The Government's decision to carve up TVNZ into a crown company and a state-owned enterprise will put the broadcasting arm into an invidious position, ACT New Zealand Commerce Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Labour made this move because United Future needed an excuse to back-track and support the legislation - otherwise the Greens would get the upper hand in the battle to be Labour's Little Helper. But the ramifications of this decision go very far.

"It is no secret that Television New Zealand is a loss-maker.

"The slimmed-down "crown company" is going to be forced to put its hand out for more cash from the Government if its losses are not disguised by BCL's income.

"Labour will be able to politicise the company, compromising the objectivity of all of its good researchers, interviewers, presenters and journalists. They will be working for Helen Clark. And things will be hundreds of times worse if rumours are confirmed and the Prime Minister's lawyer Hugh Rennie is appointed chairman.

"TVNZ will become National Radio with pictures - but at least National Radio doesn't pretend to be neutral, with its endless supply of trade union "economists" on Morning Report.

"TVNZ is lucky enough to be headed by an excellent journalist with integrity. With all the interference from Helen Clark, is he going to be shafted the same way as the Government intends to shaft Derek Fox?

"The only good thing rising from this is that TVNZ and BCL will be easier to sell in smaller parcels. The Government doesn't belong in the broadcasting business. The state doesn't own newspapers and magazines, and nor should it.

"Today's political decision has Helen Clark's fingerprints all over it, and it shows us exactly why the state must have no role interfering in the freedom of speech.

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