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Assurance needed on future of state broadcasting

Brendon Burns
Broadcasting Spokesperson

1 October 2009 Media Statement

Assurance needed on future of state broadcasting

The Government must confirm its commitment to quality state broadcasting in the future, says Labour Broadcasting spokesperson Brendon Burns.

Commenting on Television New Zealand’s annual after tax profit of $2.1 million, Brendon Burns said there needed to be a review of broadcasting competition issues “so that TVNZ and other free to air broadcasters can fairly compete in an ever-fractionating market.

“TVNZ has come through the recession better than some other media companies and that has to be acknowledged,” Brendon Burns said.

“But the unfortunate reality is that it achieved its very modest profit only after shedding 90 staff which brought reorganisation costs of $3.7m.

“Now it is saying it can't afford to provide Commonwealth Games coverage because of the $5m cost.”

Brendon Burns said that in recent months the Government had also axed the TVNZ Charter, which had given the state television company some financial buffer by providing important content that was not wholly driven by the dollars returned.

“Other than demanding a return, the Government persists with a hands-off approach to broadcasting. In an ever more competitive broadcasting environment future profits are put at risk and much more besides. How many more jobs? How many more iconic events that TVNZ has traditionally provided free to air to New Zealanders as part of their national identity?

“That is why it is so important for the Government to draw a line in the sand now. New Zealanders expect a state commitment to quality and relevant broadcasting. The Government must provide it by looking at the future of the industry and determining how it can best ensure TVNZ remains a key player.”


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