TVNZ requested further funding for closing channel

  • 07/04/2011

The Government was approached at the end of last year with a proposal to save soon-to-be-axed public broadcasting channel TVNZ 7.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman announced yesterday that funding for the channel would not be extended beyond next year, and TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said it would stop broadcasting in June next year.

Up to 30 staff could be affected by the closure of the station, which plays mostly local content, including Media 7 and Back Benches and costs about $15 million a year to run.

Following on from the Government's decision to get rid of funding for TVNZ's special charter and turn TVNZ 6 into a commercial station, the impending closure of TVNZ 7 has been hailed by some as the end of public television broadcasting.

Speaking at a parliamentary commerce committee today, Mr Ellis said the Government had made it clear TVNZ's primary mandate was in the commercial sphere.

"Our primary focus is to be a commercial broadcaster, commercially successful, but we do expect that the Crown will look to procure other broadcasting activities from us from time to time, as they used to do under the SOE framework," he said.

"So there will still be some public broadcasting activities if the Crown chooses to purchase them from us."

Speaking to media after the committee, Mr Ellis said TVNZ had asked the Government for further funding for channels 6 and 7 in the last quarter of 2010.

"We were advised a short time ago that proposal was not accepted," he said.

"I guess Government looked at it as it's not about one year of funding, but it's about maybe 10 or more years of funding and that's a very big number ... we weren't surprised at the decision."

Mr Ellis said he was proud of the work the channels had done over the past three years.

"It is a disappointment, but, at the end of the day, it's the Government's prerogative and we just get on with it."

Mr Ellis said he was hopeful the staff affected could get jobs within the company.


source: newshub archive