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TVNZ unable to fulfil Charter

BCL split leaves cash-strapped TVNZ unable to fulfil Charter

Green Broadcasting spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the Government's last minute decision to split BCL from TVNZ and turn it into a State owned enterprise could leave TVNZ vulnerable, cash strapped and unable to fulfil its Charter obligations.

Ms Kedgley said if TVNZ was to implement the Charter it could not solely rely on advertising revenue for funding and would need substantial injections of additional public funding.

She said she was worried that under the new model, government funding would not eventuate, would be insufficient or would come with political strings attached. Under any future National government, it was unlikely to come at all.

"We favour a model in which TVNZ is financially independent, not dependent on government handouts which will almost certainly dry up if a National government ever comes to power."

Ms Kedgley said TVNZ was a member of the fourth estate, and needed to be protected from any possibility of political interference.

"You only need to look to Australia to see what happens when a broadcaster has to turn up to government with a begging bowl each year," she said.

"There is huge potential for a government to use this as a lever for direct or indirect control."

Under the model the government has overturned, Ms Kedgley said profits from BCL could have been diverted, in a totally transparent way, into TVNZ's programming arm - obviating the need for direct government funding.

Ms Kedgley said she was also mystified as to why a Labour government would turn BCL into an SOE structure that would enable a future National government to sell it off to the highest bidder - most likely a foreign one, she said.

"The broadcasting airwaves are critical to our broadcasting infrastructure and should remain in public ownership."

Ms Kedgley said the Greens believed it was far better to have the two arms of public service television integrated, with one integrated organisation owning the content and distribution arms of public broadcasting, especially as we enter the digital era.

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