Television New Zealand are set to shed some sixty workers from its news and current affairs division. This is a management response to declining ratings and advertising revenue.

It's further evidence that the Labour Government's bizarre television hybrid has been an abject failure. The idea that TVNZ could meet public service obligations while at the same time meeting commercial targets was ludicrous and so it has proved.

The sackings are also further evidence to add to the mountain of evidence that TVNZ should become a full public service channel, similar to the ABC in Australia or the BBC in the United Kingdom.

Equally though TVNZ's troubles will be used as ammunition by its right wing critics to argue that TVNZ should be sold off - which was the National Party's intention before it was booted out of office.

One man who would support TVNZ's privatisation is one of its own high-profile presenters, the very-right-wing Paul Henry.

He co-hosts TV1's Breakfast Show and occasionally hosts the 7pm Close Up. He has also popped up on several other TVNZ shows including a recent turgid This Is Your Life.

Henry stood for the National Party in 1999 but lost heavily to Labour's Georgina Beyers.

Roll on to the present day and we find Henry railing against the present centrist National Party. Henry is very right wing - so right wing that his loony libertarian mate Linsay Perigo thinks he's great.

Henry is all for the free market - the less state involvement in the economy the better is the view of a man who also decribes himself as a property investor.

He also doesn't think much of the welfare state either. On his radio show (Radio Live, 4-6pm weekdays) he can often be heard attacking beneficiaries and the working class.

The working class is getting screwed by capitalism? Nonsense, says Henry. Like other right wing nuts, he blames the victims for being out of work or being in low wage jobs. Depending on what kind of mood he's in, beneficiaries and workers are generally 'irresponsible', 'full of excuses', 'lazy' - the list goes on.

Of course, Paul Henry is a state beneficiary himself. In fact he must be one of New Zealand's biggest beneficiaries; he gets paid a six-figure salary by the state media organisation he privately thinks should be privatised.

Henry, who is big on 'principles' and 'individual responsibility' has decided to ignore his monetarist principles and chosen to take the money from TVNZ.

Is Paul Henry, among other things, a hypocrite? I couldn't possibly comment..


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