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Can Peter Dunne Save TVNZ 7

For immediate release

6 December 2011


The Save TVNZ 7 campaign today applauded the efforts of United Future leader Peter Dunne to save TVNZ 7 from imminent closure next year.

In its confidence and supply agreement with the National-led Government, United Future gained agreement that funding for TVNZ would be retained at current levels. Interviewed by One News, Mr Dunne revealed that he had tried to reclaim TVNZ 7 funding to save the channel. Having failed to secure agreement from National, he plans to approach the TVNZ Board directly.

“Save TVNZ 7 applauds Peter Dunne’s promise to directly ask the TVNZ Board to save TVNZ 7,” says Save TVNZ 7 spokesman Myles Thomas. “We’re disappointed he wasn’t able to convince John Key to retain TVNZ 7, but we applaud his intention to approach the TVNZ Board.

“The Board is in a hard place - the National Government demands TVNZ return a hefty profit and has discontinued funding for our only public service channel. So to keep TVNZ 7 running the Board has to take that money from somewhere, running at odds with the Government’s commercial directive. As Peter Dunne infers, National seems hell-bent on destroying TVNZ 7. That’s despite the critically acclaimed channel having hundreds of thousands of passionate viewers, and annual running costs of only $16m. TVNZ’s Board and senior management have the ultimate say over what they fund, and there is hope. Surely TVNZ Board Members don’t want to be personally responsible for the death of public service television in New Zealand.”

TVNZ’s annual report quotes independent research that shows:

• 70% of Kiwis want programmes that are educational for young people yet only 34% believe TVNZ is doing that well
• 85% of Kiwis want high quality programmes but only 45% believe TVNZ is doing that well
• Cultural diversity on TVNZ is very important to roughly half the population but two-thirds say that TVNZ could do better
• Three quarters of respondents note that TVNZ fails to properly deal with minority interests

“This shows a major mismatch between what New Zealanders want, and what TVNZ delivers. Kiwis expect TVNZ to give them an option of quality, non-commercial broadcasting. Programmes that inform, inspire and elevate human understanding rather than just get ratings for advertisers. TVNZ 7 has a wealth of educational programmes for adults and children - and most importantly, many of them are made here in New Zealand for Kiwi audiences.”

“Many New Zealanders recognise closing down TVNZ 7 next year will be a tragedy for viewers. We already have the world’s most commercial national broadcaster (see note below). When TVNZ 7 is replaced by a shopping channel, we’ll be the laughing stock of the broadcasting world.”



The 2011 TVNZ Annual report is available at http://tvnz.co.nz/content/845012. The relevant graph is on page 17.

A recent report to Canada Broadcasting Corporation shows NZ public broadcasting has extremely high levels of commercialisation compared to other countries - www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/about/Analysis_Public_Broadcasting.pdf

Save TVNZ 7 has thousands of members from across the political spectrum, and is not affiliated with any party or other interest group. The website is at www.savetvnz7.co.nz

In 2013, analogue TV broadcasting in New Zealand will cease and all Kiwi households will need digital receivers to get free-to-air TV.

TVNZ launched its first digital channel TVNZ 6, in September 2007. TVNZ 7 followed six months later. The two channels were rationalised and TVNZ 6 ended, earlier this year.

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