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Charter Funding Blows Out 'Willy Nilly'

Charter Funding Blows Out 'Willy Nilly'

ACT New Zealand Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide today said that TVNZ's annual report released yesterday showed taxpayers just what the Government had bought with $12 million of Charter Funding.

"Not much is the answer - despite the lofty promises of Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey," Mr Hide said.

"The Minister waxed lyrical in Parliament that, `The Charter has been developed in the context of cultural recovery. It is informed by our confidence in our cultural distinction'. He told the news media that, `the extra money was intended specifically for new programmes and initiatives that were needed to meet the charter obligations'.

"And what have we got? Well, $2,250,000 has gone to `Mercy Peak'. That's great drama. But `Mercy Peak' is a pre-Charter Show. So too is the only Maori programme to receive Charter funding, `Matuku'.

"'BBC World' received $709,050 of Charter funding. This from a government that wants to run a mile from anything British and seeking `cultural distinction'.

"'Willy Nilly' received $850,228, `Big Night In', $681,021 and `Spin Doctors' $525,227. Both `Willy Nilly' and `Spin Doctors' are pre-Charter, so we can't blame the Charter for them.

"The only sports coverage to receive Charter Funding were hockey and basketball totalling $463,400.

"There is neither rhyme nor reason to this funding. Despite all the hype, it looks like just an extra $12 million funding to TVNZ.

"But at least we know what $12 million of Maharey's `cultural recovery' has bought us - `BBC World', `Willy Nilly' and `Big Night In'.

"We can also see that TVNZ spent $5,514 of Charter Funding on Prime Minister Helen Clark's media adviser Dr Brian Edwards' show `Edwards at Large'. That's despite TVNZ's Tony Holden writing to NZ on Air seeking funding for `Edwards at Large' on 3 April declaring, `TVNZ will not be applying Charter Funding to the project in view of Dr Edwards' well-known association with the Prime Minister'. So much for that assurance," Mr Hide said.

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