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TVNZ Must Fire PM's Media Adviser

TVNZ Must Fire PM's Media Adviser

Thursday 21 Aug 2003 Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Economy

ACT New Zealand Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today that TVNZ had no option but to fire Dr Brian Edwards from his own show, `Edwards at Large'.

"TVNZ's independence as a broadcaster is at stake. Dr Edwards should resign from his own show. If he won't, then TVNZ has no option but to sack him. Otherwise they can't profess to be an independent broadcaster," Mr Hide said.

"Both Dr Edwards and his wife are on Prime Minister Helen Clark's payroll as media advisers. Dr Edwards has stated publicly that he wants Ms Clark and the Labour Party to reign forever - heaven forbid.

"New Zealand on Air has funded his show `Edwards at Large' to the tune of $190,000. TVNZ agreed to broadcast it. Dr Edwards then used his taxpayer-supplied show in a vain attempt to attack me as a high profile Opposition MP. It's a hopeless conflict of interest. The only surprise is that Mr Ian Fraser hasn't sacked Dr Edwards already.

"Dr Edwards today refused to front up on Linda Clark's `Nine to Noon' radio show with me. He does not want to discuss his interview of me last Saturday night. It's easy to see why - his interview was a shocker.

"I have laid a broadcasting standards complaint with TVNZ claiming that Dr Edwards' interview of me was not balanced or impartial. It couldn't be - Dr Edwards is on Ms Clark's payroll, and his interview was solely concerned with the funding of his own show, and with his obvious conflict of interest with the Prime Minister. He cannot be impartial or balanced about either. His interview showed that he was not.

"Very few people watch `Edwards at Large'. It's such a bore. ACT - in the interests of public broadcasting - is streaming Dr Edwards' interview of me on our website at http://www.act.org.nz/hideshow (http://www.act.org.nz/hideshow) .

"I have been surprised how many Labour Ministers and MPs have logged in and congratulated me. It turns out that they consider Dr Edwards an arrogant git who got everything that he deserved. They say, `And this is the man who the Prime Minister pays to advise us on how to do it!' I have suggested that Dr Edwards seek some advice from Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia. I am sure Mr Horomia could give Dr Edwards tips on how not to front up and how to dodge tricky questions," Mr Hide said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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