Why not give long-suffering viewers a break?
The $70 million special dividend to the Government from TVNZ should be used to give long-suffering TV viewers a break, Alliance leader Jim Anderton says.
He says it could be used to fund non-commercial children’s television, or even purchase free-to-air international sport.
The special dividend was paid after TVNZ sold out of its holdings in Clear Communications and Sky TV.
“The $70 million is money that was made by TVNZ from its broadcasting-related business.
“Instead of using the special dividend to fund even more pay-outs for sacked state sector managers, the money should stay in broadcasting and be used to enhance the service for viewers.
“The first priority for $70 million would have been to fund the switch to digital television, which Treasury has been using as a bogus argument for privatising TVNZ. But the SOE has already made enough from the sale of its shares in Sky and Clear to fund digitalisation, and still make the $70 million pay-out.
“The government could use the money to purchase commercial-free kids TV. No parent could be comfortable with the amount of commercial hard-sell directed at children on television.
“Some experts believe that a viable national non-commercial channel could be established and run for around $70 million. Even if the Government didn’t want to go that far, with $70 million it could invest heavily in New Zealand productions or even allow sports fans to watch some of their favourite test matches live on free-to-air TV.
“This is our money, and it’s hard to see why it
shouldn’t be used to give long-suffering viewers something
worthwhile on television,” Jim Anderton said.