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TVNZ feasts at taxpayer expense

Hon Georgina te Heuheu MP - National Party Broadcasting Spokeswoman

04 February 2005

TVNZ feasts at taxpayer expense

"Labour is so desperate to make its prescriptive charter work that it is throwing more money at the same organisation that the public has come to associate with a culture of extravagance," says National Party Broadcasting spokeswoman Georgina te Heuheu.

"And while Labour rolls out the red carpet for TVNZ, smaller - and some might argue smarter - players in the broadcasting sector are getting only scraps from the table.

"Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey likes to give the impression he is the ringmaster, but the release yesterday of the Government's Programme of Action for Public Broadcasting shows he really is just the clown dancing to entertain the feeding lions," says Mrs te Heuheu.

"Other players in the sector have no chance at getting anything other than leftovers, even though they also provide programming across the various charter genres.

"The public won't be fooled. The Programme of Action for Public Broadcasting is just another excuse for the Minister to pour millions more into the network it owns and controls.

"This document shows Labour is clearly not committed to reeling in the culture of excess at the state broadcaster and that it expects the long-suffering taxpayer to foot the bill.

"TVNZ needs transparency throughout the funding process. It's simply not good enough for the network to hide behind a technicality to avoid accounting properly for the funding it receives.

"The Labour Government is about to reward this behaviour by coming to the dinner table with an open chequebook and telling TVNZ to order the most expensive items on the menu," says Mrs te Heuheu.

ENDS

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