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Media Merger To Cost Taxpayers Billions

The Government’s planned media mega entity will need hundreds of millions a year in extra taxpayer funding due to the decision to destroy TVNZ’s commercial model, National’s Broadcasting and Media spokesperson Melissa Lee says.

“Documents obtained by the National Party reveal the combined media entity would require $6.3 billion in additional Crown funding over the next 30 years, or an average of $211 million a year.

“It’s obvious the TVNZ/RNZ merger has become another ideological pet project for Labour, who have never been able to give a good reason for spending taxpayer money on this costly exercise.

“Taxpayers should not be expected to pay billions of dollars to merge two existing media entities that are doing fine operating on their own.

“Remarkably, a leaked draft of the business case behind the merger shows that a major reason for the merged entity’s massive ongoing funding requirement stems directly from the Government’s decision to force TVNZ to become less commercial.

“This sees commercial revenue plunge by $100 million a year within just five years of the merger and continue to decline for years to come.

“The publicly released Cabinet paper behind the decision to merge TVNZ and RNZ contained almost no financial information about the new mega media entity, while Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson has been evasive in answering questions. Now it’s clear why.

“Taxpayers deserve an answer from Labour about what the real cost of their latest vanity project is – after all, they will be the ones left paying the bill for years to come.

“Deliberately re-engineering state-owned media was always going to pose a risk to New Zealand’s vibrant and competitive media environment. These documents show it will also cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

“National will put a stop to this wasteful project, saving taxpayers’ money and protecting the plurality of media voices.”

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