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So who is monitoring TVNZ’s charter?

Jonathan Coleman MP
National Party Broadcasting Spokesman

3 April 2008

So who is monitoring TVNZ’s charter?

National Party Broadcasting spokesman Jonathan Coleman says Labour is at sixes and sevens about who is responsible for monitoring TVNZ’s spending of charter funding.

“It’s little wonder Michael Cullen has criticised the way charter money is being spent – it would appear Labour doesn’t even know who is supposed to be keeping an eye on it. The Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, Judith Tizard, told Parliament today that it was not her Ministry’s role.”

But Dr Coleman says in regard to TVNZ’s charter, the website for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry says that it ‘monitors this activity on behalf of the Minister of Broadcasting’, and elsewhere it says ‘The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has specific responsibility for oversight of TVNZ's charter’.*

“But, the same website also says TVNZ is accountable to the Minister of Broadcasting in relation to the charter.**

“So who is supposed to be monitoring the charter? This is important because, according to Michael Cullen, one of his colleagues has not been doing their job. They should be held to account.”

Last week, the Finance Minister said of TVNZ that: ‘They receive funding for their charter programmes but at the moment it's not clear where the money goes. Some greater clarity is needed around [that]’.

“This would be laughable if Labour hadn’t poured millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars into TVNZ, and now it’s unclear who has been supposed to have been monitoring it.”

Radio New Zealand reported on October 17 2004 that ‘Judith Tizard shares responsibility with Helen Clark for the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage which is responsible for monitoring TVNZ's charter performance and overseeing how the television company spends the direct funding it receives for charter programmes. Although TVNZ has now received more than 30-million dollars in direct funding the Ministry has not challenged expenditure on any programme’.

“Judith Tizard has had four years to put the record straight. If it’s not her Ministry – then who is it that has not been doing their job?

“National has argued for years that TVNZ needs to be more transparent in the way it spend its charter money.”


* &

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