Any business case for a taxpayer-funded mega-broadcaster must ensure taxpayers are not funding political propaganda, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “In today’s opinion-led, personality-dominated media environment, journalism tends to push one political narrative or another. This is tolerable when audiences have a choice of outlets – we can always switch to a different channel. However, problems arise when the Government tries to convert commercial operators into ‘public service’ platforms, with taxpayers forced to fund material they find politically distasteful.”
“Specifically, a taxpayer-funded media monolith is likely to favour a high-tax political environment that will ensure its own survival.”
“Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi needs to direct PwC to include in its business case a strong focus on political diversity – such as independent reviews with input from taxpayers.”
“Then there's the basic issue of value for money. Mergers have a bad track record on this front – even when explicitly pitched to provide efficiency. Take the amalgamation of rural and urban fire services – a promised $47 million saving turned into a cost blowout of more than $300 million.”
“The business case will fail to effectively acknowledge these costs. Consultants hired by the Government have a perverse incentive to tell the Minister what he wants to hear.”