28 November 2000
"Given her performance in other areas of the broadcasting portfolio, it is no surprise that the Minister of Broadcasting
has made a dog's breakfast of the Broadcasting Standards Authority," National's Katherine Rich said today.
Rosemary McLeod, the only member with any experience left after government restructuring, has resigned; leaving no one
on the BSA who is up to speed with the legislation, the codes or its previous decisions.
"I understand that officials, members and the previous Chair counselled the Minister that continuity was a key concern
when making any changes, because of the intricacy of the workings of the Authority.
"The Minister could have reappointed Joan Withers or Sam Maling, both of whom were available, but Government ideology
demanded new Labour faces.
"The Minister says Rosemary McLeod's decision 'places strain on the Board' and that she needs 'to discuss their
workloads with the Chairman'.
"But it is Marian Hobbs who has placed strain on the board by not fighting for a continuity of skills. She allowed her
preferred decision as Chair to be overruled for the sake of party politics.
"The impact on the Authority's workload is also not a surprise. The Minister has created a full board of new people who
will take 12 to 18 months to get up to speed with the role of the Authority.
"Having no experienced member on the BSA is the worst thing that could have happened but was entirely predictable given
the Minister's weak management of her portfolio.
"The broadcasting portfolio needs a warrior as its Minister, but all it has is a wet flannel," Katherine Rich said.