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Government ignores TVNZ warning at own risk

16 February 2005

Government ignores TVNZ warning at own risk - Greens

The Government should take heed of the overwhelming response to the open letter to TVNZ, otherwise New Zealanders are going to lose confidence in public service television, Green Party Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"There is a real risk that unless TVNZ delivers more home-grown New Zealand programmes and reduces the level of advertising, it will steadily lose audience share.

Ms Kedgley was one of 31 prominent New Zealanders who signed the open letter to Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey seeking to have the broadcaster improve its content and reduce advertising.

"Viewers expect a higher standard from public service television, but they are not getting it, and this is making them disillusioned with state-owned television.

"The clear message from the open letter and the response to it is that the present hybrid model for TVNZ, with its conflicting objectives, simply isn't working or delivering the programmes and New Zealand content that we have been promised, Ms Kedgley said.

"Its time the Government acknowledged this and began to consider other options such as a non-commercial channel on TV1 or moving TV1 to a less commercial model, where there are no advertisements between programmes, or one or three nights a week are commercial free.

"I believe we need an open debate about how to improve the quality of public service television. Frankly, the amount of money we are investing in it at the moment is tiny, and we need to debate whether other less commercial options are viable.

ENDS

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