TVNZ7 – value for money!
At the end of this month, TVNZ7 will be switched off.
That will mean the end of New Zealand’s only currently, non-commercial, public broadcasting TV.
It will mean the end of an hour-long, no-ads, news service at 8pm; science programmes; ‘Backbenches‘; documentaries; current affairs programmes such as ‘The Court Report‘; and many other excellent programmes.
And not a reality/make-over show; cooking-porn programme; grim US crime show; inane US sitcom; or soft-porn show such as ‘The GC‘ anywhere to be seen.
TVNZ7 cost taxpayers from between $15 to $17 million per year. Putting that into context, NZ had commercial-free, public TV broadcasting for $4.25 per every man, woman, and child a year. Or, 8 cents a week per New Zealander.
Only the most ardent National/ACT-voting free-marketeer could grumble at that.
Adding insult to injury, Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said,
“The Government values Kiwi content and invests $230m each year on public broadcasting and supporting New Zealand content on our screens.”
If that’s true (and why should we disbelieve a National Minister?), TVNZ7′s budget is barely 7% of the $230 million that Craig Foss referred to.
It is simply inconceivable that National can continue to claim that there is insufficient funding for TVNZ7. The money – $230 million – exists.
Only the will to maintain funding for TVNZ7 is lacking.
Perhaps National’s polling suggests that the majority of TVNZ7 viewers are critical thinkers who do not swallow the mindless, infantile pap of commercialised television? And these viewers are also likely to dare question National’s policies?
In which case this blogger can guess at the bloody-mindedness of the National Party at steadfastly refusing to fund TVNZ7. One can only assume that Craig Foss and his National mates are deliberately digging their toes in, and their willingness to close down public television is also a form of vindictiveness.
Governments don’t like being questioned.
Governments prefer that after we do our three-yearly duty on Election Day. After that; sit down; shut up; and watch tits’n'arse on “The GC” or umptyleven ways to cook a turnip on several dozen cooking programmes. Or watch yet another female victim’s corpse being dispassionately poked and prodded on another American cop-vs-killer crime show…
But public television that encourages the public to… think?
Oh no, we can’t have that, now, can we?
Especially if an ad-free broadcaster takes viewers away from a State-owned, commercial TV broadcaster. This means less profit for the commercial broadcaster and less dividends paid to the government’s Consolidated Fund.
Commercial self interest mixed with political disdain for a TV network that informs the viewer is an unholy brew. Little wonder that National has every reason to oversee TVNZ7′s demise.
One can only hope that this will be remembered on Election Day in 2014 – if not earlier.
Let’t not forget one very simple fact; this is not about funding. Minister Foss has already admitted that the money is there to save TVNZ7.
This is purely and simply about political will. And the political will is to pull the plug on public broadcasting.
They just don’t have the balls to admit it.
Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, <email@example.com>
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