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Tvnz's Blatant Misuse Of Taxpayer Funds

Media Release

18 May 2004

Tvnz's Blatant Misuse Of Taxpayer Funds

Rt Hon Winston Peters has called on the Government to stop TVNZ’s highly paid management spending millions of dollars on foreign news and current affairs programming simply to obstruct and hamper TV3.

Mr Peters said TVNZ’s bid of $1.3 million dollars to wrestle ABC News and 20/20 away from TV3 when the state broadcaster already had several news and current affairs programmes of its own defied common sense and was a blatant misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

“TVNZ is not trying to beat TV3 by using skills or programming ability. It is simply using the huge weight of taxpayer funds it has at its disposal to bid for programmes to deny them to TV3 or simply price them off the market for the privately owned broadcaster.

“TVNZ frequently buys programmes, which are never shown, purely to deny them to the opposition.

“At the same time, TVNZ has gone to the Government with a begging bowl for extra funding to fulfill its charter.

“The Minister should advise the grossly overpaid executives at TVNZ that they should concentrate on making better programmes rather than use public money to beat off the competition.

“Perhaps it is time to look at the future of this wasteful and arrogant organisation,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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