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So much for new, home-grown television

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokeswoman

16 October 2003

So much for new, home-grown television

National's Broadcasting spokeswoman Katherine Rich says Charter money is being used to prop up shows previously funded by TVNZ or NZ On Air instead of focusing on new shows.

She's also questioning why more than $700,000 of Charter money has been used to fund BBC World in place of New Zealand programming.

"A look at how TVNZ has spent the Government's $12 million Charter handout confirms my earlier prediction that many shows being funded anyway are being conveniently redefined as Charter programmes," says Mrs Rich.

"Mercy Peak, Spin Doctors and Willy Nilly are all great shows, but TVNZ and NZ On Air had no trouble funding these before the Charter came along. Why are they now products of the Charter?

"Everyone expected that Charter funding would mean new shows, not act as a pot of cash to fund programmes which were previously successfully funded by TVNZ or NZ On Air," says Mrs Rich.

"It's a joke that $709,000 of Charter cash has been used for BBC World, a service TVNZ was already funding before the Charter. This is money that should have gone to New Zealand programming.

"I question how BBC World contributes to the Charter's goal of "providing experiences that contribute to a sense of shared citizenship?"

"Or how it "supports and promotes talents and creative resources of New Zealanders and of the independent New Zealand film and television industry?"

"It is well known that TVNZ had difficulty finding the dollars to fund this service, so it appears that Charter funding has conveniently filled a gap.

"If TVNZ wants to fund BBC World, so be it. But let's not pretend that this overseas programming is what New Zealanders expected from the Charter," says Mrs Rich.

Ends

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