Governments Should Not Be in Business

Published: Wed 15 Dec 2004 11:28 AM
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Governments Should Not Be in Business
"The controversy over the disclosure of a high salary at Television New Zealand illustrates again why governments should not be involved in running commercial businesses", Roger Kerr, executive of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, said today.
Mr Kerr said that, as a commercial broadcaster, TVNZ was right to say that it has to pay competitive salaries in order to retain staff and maintain ratings.
Equally, however, there was no good reason why taxpayers should be exposed to the risks of such commercial decisions or why politicians should be involved in disputes over employment contracts.
"Had TVNZ been sold some years ago as was intended, with the government supporting public broadcasting through competitive contracts, this problem would not have arisen.
"Moreover, taxpayers would not have suffered the loss of actual or potential shareholder value that has occurred in TVNZ, and the risk of further losses with new and aggressive competition in the broadcasting market", Mr Kerr said.

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