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PM Must Stop Rubbishing NZ Television

21 November 2000

"Prime Minister Helen Clark should stop running down New Zealand television particularly when she is speaking to overseas media," National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"During an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald the Prime Minister was asked what would force her to turn on New Zealand Television and she replied 'nothing'. The Prime Minister painted a dark picture of New Zealand television leading The Sydney Morning Herald to go on and say that 'New Zealand television is almost empty of local content'.

"The Prime Minister must stop perpetuating this myth. Last week TVNZ presented information to the Commerce Select Committee that TV One showed 61% local content in prime time.

"After all the hard work of Project Blue Skies to get New Zealand programmes included in the Australian programme quota, it is little wonder that we have had little success getting our programmes on air in Australia when the Prime Minister rubbishes our local production.

"The Prime Minister's comments are an insult to broadcasters, programmers, producers, directors, actors and, of course, NZ On Air. They will all be disappointed that the sum total of their work has been represented as a big fat zero overseas.

"The Prime Minister admits to watching little more than the news, yet she makes wild comments about the quality of TVNZ programming. While there is always room for improvement, with over 70% of New Zealanders tuning into TVNZ every night, our nation's broadcaster must be doing a lot right.

"More often than not if you turn to TV One you will hear New Zealand stories, see New Zealand faces and hear kiwi accents.

"I just do not buy the idea that New Zealanders are subjected to cheap imported programmes and that we are viewing second class shows. For international content TVNZ and TV3 have the luxury of cherry picking the best prime time shows available from all over the world. I do not think avid New Zealand viewers of Coronation Street, The Practice, Ally McBeal or the Sopranos would agree that they are viewing the cast-offs from the rest of the world," Katherine Rich said.


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