TVNZ appoints former National Party MP Simon Power as CEO

State-owned broadcaster TVNZ has announced its directors have appointed former National Party MP Simon Power as CEO.

He's taking over from Kevin Kenrick, who is stepping down in February after nine years in the role.

Power was the MP for Rangitīkei from 2008 - 2011 and as part of Sir John Key's government held roles as Minister of Justice, Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and Deputy Leader of the House.

He will move into the TVNZ role from Westpac NZ, where he has held multiple roles, most recently interim CEO.

Power is stepping in as boss of TVNZ as the Government continues to look at a possible merger with RNZ, another of the major broadcasters it owns.

"It's well known that New Zealand's media sector, both public and private, is facing unprecedented challenges with competition from the likes of Google and Facebook, declining revenue shares, and changes in when and how audiences access their information and entertainment," current Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said last year.

"Both TVNZ and RNZ currently will struggle to be able to adapt to some of the challenges media have and the adaption of a new entity would give scale and the ability to weather some of those challenges."

Jacinda Ardern's Labour Government delayed deciding on a merger amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but a spokesperson for Faafoi recently said ministers would consider the proposal in early 2022.

Power said he is looking forward to joining TVNZ at a "unique point" in the company's history.  

"The past year has truly demonstrated the importance a strong national broadcaster has in the daily lives of New Zealanders," he said.

"I'm looking forward to joining the leadership team as TVNZ continues its digital expansion and moves into an innovative new era."

TVNZ's principle rival is Discovery NZ, which owns Newshub.  

Discovery Australia & New Zealand general manager Glen Kyne has joined those welcoming Power to his new role.

"I'm delighted to hear TVNZ has announced Simon Power as its new CEO," said Kyne.

"While Discovery and TVNZ might ostensibly be competitors, it's better for Aotearoa as a whole to have many strong broadcasters and with Simon stepping up to the helm, that's what we expect to see.

"Media can be a cut-throat industry but at the end of everything we're all just wanting to give our audience the best news and entertainment. I look forward to working closely with Simon and all the other media companies as we continue to deliver Kiwis exactly that."