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Minister must take good with the bad over NZ Idol

Mon, 30 Aug 2004

Hon Georgina te Heuheu MP National Party Broadcasting Spokeswoman

30 August 2004

Minister must take good with the bad over NZ Idol

"When Steve Maharey gloated about the success of NZ Idol this year, he was accepting some responsibility for figures that show the taxpayer lost money on the show," says National Party Broadcasting spokeswoman Georgina te Heuheu.

In May last year Mr Maharey said 'while it was just a portion of the total cost, public funding through NZ on Air to Television New Zealand ensured the series got off the ground'.

He went on to claim that 'the Government's promotion of cultural and social objectives through mechanisms like ... TVNZ's new public service mandate is paying off'.

"Now we discover New Zealand On Air made an exception to fund NZ Idol because it was not usually the agency's policy to fund overseas formats 'due to their proven performance and relative commercial viability'.

"Mr Maharey should be answering questions.

"A Minister on top of his portfolio will know why the 'loan' to state-owned TVNZ by NZ On Air is not being repaid and will know why the agreement's now been redrafted so that it is no longer 'a loan'.

"That change certainly explains why both Mr Maharey and Judith Tizard were so cagey about answering questions on NZ Idol funding earlier this year.

"It is simply not acceptable for a public broadcaster like TVNZ and a publicly funded agency like NZ On Air to stitch up a secret deal that costs the taxpayer a significant amount of money," says Mrs te Heuheu.

ENDS

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