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Public service ethos eroded by TVNZ board

16 December 2004

Public service ethos eroded by TVNZ board

Steve Maharey should be holding the TVNZ board accountable not just for doubling Judy Bailey's salary but also for undermining the state broadcaster's public service ethos and Charter, the Green Party says.

"The Chief Executive of TVNZ has recently been touting how much TVNZ has moved away from its commercial ethos into a public service broadcasting system," Sue Kedgley, Green Broadcasting spokesperson said. "However, this latest decision shows that TVNZ's commitment to the Charter is wafer thin, and that commercial considerations dominate the Board's thinking to the exclusion of almost all else."

"The Charter was supposed to help transform TVNZ from a creature of the market into a transparent organisation driven by public service imperatives. Clearly, the commitment to the Charter is lip service and still very much second fiddle to the profit motive."

Ms Kedgley said the Bailey decision also called into question the coherence of the TVNZ Charter, an issue the Government needed to address urgently.

"The decision exposes the contradiction at the heart of the TVNZ Charter, namely that TVNZ is supposed to be equally committed to public service and commercial objectives.

"The Minister needs to revisit this contradiction, and make it abundantly clear that TVNZ's number one priority should be to serving the public, not selling advertising.

"Frankly, it's hard to justify direct government funding to an organisation which feels it reasonable to pay a presenter around $800,000 a year."

Ms Kedgley added that she supported National MP Murray McCully's call for TVNZ to come before the Commerce Select Committee to explain its decision.

ENDS

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