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‘Public’ TV continues to pay price of govt greed

‘Public’ TV continues to pay price of government greed

Green MP Sue Kedgley is questioning why Television New Zealand continues to pay the Government one of the highest dividends of any state broadcaster in the world.

“Congratulations to the Government for returning a portion of the dividend to TVNZ, to help meet its laudable goal of fifty per cent local content,” said Ms Kedgley, the Green Broadcasting spokesperson. “However, this apparent generosity hides the fact that TVNZ is still contributing far more to government coffers than it is getting back.”

The Government is to give back $11.4 million of last year’s TVNZ dividend of $37.6 million, with the money earmarked for local drama and children’s programmes.

“But this still means it is returning a dividend of $26 million - almost all of its profits for last year and one of the highest dividends ever. And it is still $7 million more than the amount that was projected in the statement of intent for this year.

“During the nineties under the National government TVNZ was only required to pay 70 per cent of its dividend to government. Now there’s an expectation that it will return even more of its profits. This does not make sense.

“No other public service broadcaster is expected to pay a dividend to government - even countries like Canada and Ireland, which are partly funded from advertising,” said Ms Kedgley. “Certainly none are expected to return all of their profits to the consolidated fund, rather than investing them in local programmes.

“TVNZ can’t be both public broadcaster and cash cow,” said Ms Kedgley. “Either the Government genuinely commits itself to the Charter or it continues to demand state television returns a big, fat profit every year.”

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