State-owned broadcaster TVNZ’s plan to axe two critical frontline news positions from Dunedin has an immediate negative impact on coverage for the whole of Otago and Southland, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.
“TVNZ is cutting around 10 positions nationwide in a cost-cutting exercise affecting backroom news production and regional news gathering.
“In August, TVNZ announced a profit of $28 million, up $10 million on 2014 despite a shrinking market. Meanwhile CEO Kevin Kendrick’s salary went from $730,000 in 2013 to just over $1 million in 2014.
“TVNZ has previously made commitments to telling the stories of regional New Zealand. This cost cutting exercise demonstrates how hollow those commitments are.
“It beggars belief that you would axe two frontline positions which covers an area of 65,000 square kilometres.
“Perhaps the Auckland-based broadcaster thinks the southern part of New Zealand doesn’t produce enough news stories?
“And perhaps they are following the lead of their political masters in demonstrating indifference and regional neglect.
“National removed TVNZ’s public broadcast requirements and directed them to be profit-focussed, which is why we are seeing regional cutbacks at a time when TVNZ is making healthy profits.
“TVNZ is still owned by the taxpayer and National must ensure the public broadcaster remains committed to the regions with clear and accountable processes as part of its public service duties, says Clare Curran.