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TVNZ annual report: no longer a public broadcaster

27 October 2009 Media Statement

TVNZ annual report confirms it’s no longer a public broadcaster

Television New Zealand's latest annual report confirms it no longer regards itself as a public broadcaster, says Labour's broadcasting spokesman Brendon Burns.

The annual report for the year to June this year was presented to Parliament today.

Brendon Burns says where in the past TVNZ measured its performance both by financial results and as a public broadcaster, the 2009 annual report is focused only on business outcomes.

"TVNZ has come through a tough year still in the black and that's a good result,” he said.

“But Labour believes our state television company is more than just a business or profit centre. It should also have a commitment to being a public broadcaster, with measurable commitments to contributing towards an informed society, a role in building national identity and celebrating our diversity."

Brendon Burns says those requirements have been abandoned after the National Government ditched the Television New Zealand charter.

"When it suits the Government, it comes back to wanting public broadcasting outcomes, such as the recent fiasco over its agreement to fund TVNZ to be compete for the Rugby World Cup free-to-air rights. A month earlier, the Government sat on its hands while TVNZ on-passed free-to-air rights to the Commonwealth Games to the Sky pay network.

"New Zealanders deserve more certainty on public broadcasting outcomes than this kind of lottery. They have a right to know if TVNZ is regarded by the Government as no more than a business to retain en route to privatisation."

Brendon Burns says Labour's view is that television is too powerful and important to simply be left to the market to provide, as the Rugby World cup shambles has most recently illustrated.

ENDS

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