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Sack the Radio NZ Board for incompetence

The failure of Radio New Zealand to supply news to commercial radio stations is the main reason the news service is under pressure.

Alliance leader Jim Anderton says National Party appointees to the Radio New Zealand board have proved themselves to be incompetent at the radio business and the entire board should be fired.

He says the National Party should also take responsibility for undermining Radio New Zealand by selling its commercial stations which destroyed its critical mass.

"Radio New Zealand News is under pressure for the simple reason that it is not supplying news to anyone other than Radio NZ," Jim Anderton said.

"It is effectively a single radio station trying to support a nationwide network of newsrooms. No wonder it's in a squeeze. Its main competitor, IRN, supplies news to radio stations which cover 90% of radio audiences.

"Instead of destroying Radio NZ News and buying news from elsewhere, Radio NZ should be selling news to commercial news outlets. The extra business would provide the critical mass necessary for a very strong news service.

"Until the National Party sold the commercial Radio NZ stations, that critical mass existed. At the time the commercial stations were sold, the Government claimed it would make no difference to National Radio. They have been proved emphatically wrong.

"There is well-known interest among private broadcasters in purchasing news from a source other than IRN - partly because IRN is owned by commercial competitors.

"The RNZ Board has been incompetent in tapping into this market and no one has held them accountable for it.

"The entire board should be sacked and replaced with professionals who understand the radio industry, and who don't have a vested interest in carving it up for their own profit," Jim Anderton said.

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