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Government dividend demand undermines TV Charter

Government dividend demand undermines TV Charter

Green MP Sue Kedgley is questioning the Government's insistence that TVNZ return a dividend, in light of major cuts to the state broadcaster's news and current affairs budget.

Ms Kedgley today challenged the Minister of Broadcasting to waive any dividend requirement, in order to avert a $4 million cut from TVNZ's news budget.

"The Minister replied that the Government did indeed expect some dividend from TVNZ, at a rate yet to be determined," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Broadcasting spokesperson.

"It is a ludicrous situation that on the one hand, the Government is pumping-in $60 million to help TVNZ meet its Charter obligations, yet on the other hand is demanding a dividend. All this at a time when TVNZ feels impelled to slash its news budget by up to 10 per cent.

"TVNZ has an obligation under the Charter to provide independent, comprehensive, impartial and in-depth news and current affairs coverage. I question how it can possibly meet its Charter obligations when it is axing its award-winning current affairs flagship, Assignment, sacking up to 14 senior editorial positions and chopping up to 10 per cent of its news budget.

"It is time for TVNZ to come clean and explain exactly why it is seeking to making these cuts, when it is expecting record advertising revenue in excess of $300 million this year, as well as a Government grant of $15 million.

"I also call on the Government to re-assess its demand for a dividend from TVNZ, if such a payment comes at the cost of undermining the very Charter that it established only a few months ago."

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