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One Charter for both channels Kedgley reminds TVNZ

12 February, 2004

One Charter for both channels, Kedgley reminds TVNZ

TVNZ has admitted spending just 1.9 per cent of its $10.7 million government Charter funding on TV2, under questioning from Green MP Sue Kedgley at the Commerce Select Committee in Parliament today.

"TV2 is the channel that children and young people watch and it is quite frankly scandalous that TVNZ is spending such a pitiful amount on programmes aimed at young people," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party Broadcasting spokesperson.

"The broadcaster has a legal obligation under the TVNZ Act to implement the Charter on both TV One and 2, and it is failing to fulfil that obligation. Instead it is flooding TV2 with highly commercial and mostly foreign programmes and using it as a cash cow for TV One."

Ms Kedgley said she was horrified that almost $1 million of Charter money was spent purchasing 2460 hours of foreign programmes. She said there is no justification for using a special government grant to purchase a lots of foreign programmes, especially when TVNZ's local content quota was still abysmal, especially on TV2.

"TVNZ should spend its windfall advertising revenues on foreign programming, not the money earmarked for programmes by and about New Zealanders."

Ms Kedgley is calling for an independent body to measure how TVNZ spends government Charter funding. "The present system under which they spend it however they like is completely unsatisfactory and open to abuse."

Ms Kedgley also quizzed TVNZ on why 462 of its staff had been issued company credit cards, 66 of them with credit limits in excess of $15,000.

"I am concerned for the potential for abuse, " said Ms Kedgley. "In light of the Ross Armstrong affair, and the abuse of credit cards that came to light during the audit investigations, there appears no justification for so many staff to have access to such huge credit limits."


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