Friday, October 06, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | New Zealand | Government Gouged TVNZ Profit

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News thought that this little digital broadcasting snippet from New Zealand would give an insight into the supposedly squeeky clean image of New Zealand politics.

The references to digital broadcaster, Television New Zealand below are taken from the latest Weekly Report from Murray McCully, Member of Parliament for East Coast Bays constituency.

Television New Zealand while autonomous under "Royal Charter" has, as its main shareholder, the New Zealand Government which has unveiled plans for the introduction of digital terrestrial television broadcasting. Read on....

"The TVNZ Supplicants"

Mr McCully wrote: "The Television New Zealand annual report received scant coverage in the nation’s media last week. Which was remarkable when the report disclosed for the first time that TVNZ’s owners had gouged a NZD70 million (USD46m) special dividend out of the company. And most of it was in borrowed cash.

In earlier times such a revelation would have led to all manner of insinuations; rampant commercialism and asset-stripping, no less. But this Government, of course, promised a TVNZ charter. Complete with charter funding. So just what is going on here?

TVNZ has already announced plans to go digital. Plans are due to go before the Cabinet within weeks. Some tens of millions of dollars have been requested to fund the venture. So the Government has just raided the TVNZ coffers to the extent of NZD70 million. And rumour suggests that another cash grab yet is still on the agenda. The vast bulk to be funded out of borrowings.

The (New Zealand)state broadcaster is now required, in effect, to beg for some of the borrowed cash back in order to fund its technology development. And nervous managers are fretting that any offence taken by Clark and Co (Prime Minister Helen Clark and team) might lead to the requested funding being denied.

Our state broadcaster has been reduced to the position of a "supplicant", begging the Government for the cash it surely needs to undertake its programmed development. After, of course, it has been forced into debt to meet its owner’s demands. A situation that will bear the closest of watching, to be sure." - 6 October 2006

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News says: "If the Hon. MP has got it all correct, we suggest that TVNZ in its massive digital broadcast equipment purchasing requirements will need to exert huge pressure on vendors to offer lengthy settlement periods for invoices."

OOPs are we too treading on sensitive ground?

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