INDEPENDENT NEWS

Honour Pre-Election Broadcasting Promise

Published: Wed 4 Apr 2001 09:53 AM
Time For Govt To Honour Pre-Election Broadcasting Promise
"The time has come for the government to make good on its pre-election promise to allow TVNZ to retain a greater proportion of its potential dividend so that it can concentrate on meeting its new Charter obligations and produce quality programming," Green Party Broadcasting spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
Ms Kedgley was responding to TVNZ's half-yearly interim report which predicted that the organisation could be in net deficit within the next six months, once it began to implement its new public service Charter.
"It is totally unrealistic to expect TVNZ to implement its new public service Charter and at the same time return a 70 per cent dividend to the Crown," said Ms Kedgley.
"Such an expectation also contravenes section seven of the State Owned Enterprise Act which stipulates that if a government sets non-commercial objectives for an SOE, it should provide funding to achieve those objectives.
"Clearly, section seven of the SOE Act requires the government to provide funding to TVNZ for the non-commercial objectives it has set in the Charter and which will be included in TVNZ's Statement of Corporate Intent," she said.
One mechanism to achieve this would be to allow the organisation to retain 70 per cent of its potential dividends, rather than the 30 per cent it is allowed to retain at present. This policy would deliver on the promise the Labour Party made in its broadcasting manifesto before the last election.
Ms Kedgley said she was disappointed by the Broadcasting Minister's comments in parliament yesterday that she expected the Charter to be implemented progressively, which would "allow costs to be managed over time".
"I am worried that the Charter will place high expectations on TVNZ which the organisation will not have the budget to deliver on," she said.
Ends

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