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TVNZ Charter fails to put more Kiwis on screen

18 May 2005

TVNZ Charter fails to put more Kiwis on screen

The Greens are calling on the Government to give the TVNZ Charter more teeth and impose 'Made in New Zealand' quotas, in light of figures showing that local content on state TV actually decreased last year.

"Clearly TVNZ is not taking its Charter seriously," Green Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

"It's a terrible indictment that the amount of local content on TVNZ actually dropped last year and that it now makes up a pitiful 38 percent of the taxpayer-owned channels' programming.

"The whole point of having a state broadcaster is for New Zealand to see New Zealanders, not to show the same incessant diet of foreign shows readily available on commercial TV," Ms Kedgley said. "The Charter was meant to bring more New Zealanders on to our screens, but these figures confirm this isn't happening."

TVNZ Chief Executive Ian Fraser has said that the prime goal of TVNZ is to "reflect New Zealand to New Zealanders".

"If Ian Fraser means what he says, why on earth are 82 percent of the programmes on TV2 made overseas?"

Ms Kedgley said the figures, published in the Survey of Local Content recently released by New Zealand On Air, called into question how serious the Government was about its commitment to public broadcasting. The survey also found that the amount of all children's programming on TV2 had declined to its lowest levels in five years - despite the other Charter goal of also increasing children's' programming.

"The truth is that the Charter's intention is simply not being met," Ms Kedgley said. "We're lagging far behind other countries when it comes to providing local programming. Australia has local content quotas of 55 percent for all commercial television channels, while the UK has 91 percent local programming, Canada 75 percent, Italy 83 percent and Germany 91 percent.

"Clearly the Charter doesn't have enough teeth and TVNZ is continuing to put commercial goals ahead of public service."

"It's high time the Government followed the advice of its former Broadcasting Minister, and Speaker, Jonathan Hunt and explored other models for improving the quality of state broadcasting, such as operating a channel along semi-commercial lines - like Australia's SBS - so that TVNZ has a less commercial approach and a stronger public ethos."

ENDS

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