New Zealand taxpayers won't bear cost of saving Newshub - Government minister Tama Potaka

  • 01/03/2024

New Zealand taxpayers will not bear the cost of saving Newshub from closure, a government minister says. 

"The New Zealand taxpayer is not a free ATM card for all the aspirations to build more and more bureaucracy," the National Party's Tama Potaka said on Friday. 

Earlier this week, Warner Bros Discovery announced it planned to close Newshub - one of two of New Zealand's free-to-air television news providers. 

The closure would bring an end to 35 years of broadcasting, leaving TVNZ as the main producer of television news. 

"Look, it's really sad what has happened at Newshub and what's happened over the last few days for you guys [who] are almost certainly losing your jobs in the next couple of months," Potaka told AM host Lloyd Burr. 

But the minister added there was "more than one broadcaster in New Zealand". 

"There's Māori TV and others - they're broadcasters as well. But we are... concerned with how things have worked out." 

Opposition MP and former Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson, appearing on AM alongside Potaka, said the Government couldn't simply leave Newshub to close. 

Jackson said the Coalition needed to help Newshub find a way through. 

"This entity has always found a way through," he added. 

"When I was the minister, we did more things than any Government in the last generation... if we had an ad-free TVNZ, all the advertising would come this way [to Newshub] in an ideal world," Jackson said of the Labour Government's proposal to merge TVNZ and RNZ into a single state entity, which was eventually scrapped. 

"The current environment, the market doesn't work - the market is broke." 

A final decision on Newshub's closure is expected next month, with the shutdown proposed for June.