TVNZ has recorded an after tax loss of $4.5 million for the past financial year - it is yet another indictment of Labour's disastrous broadcasting policy.

Labour has attempted to lay down public broadcasting principles on the state broadcaster that is also expected to meet commercial objectives.

It is a hybrid that has failed to work on both scores: it is broadcaster awash with reality shows, American crime shows and a third rate news service and which is now losing advertising revenue (a 6.5 percent drop), as more and more viewers turn off.

Furthermore Labour has now made TVNZ vulnerable to privatisation from an incoming National Government, something that former news and current affairs chief Bill Ralston is concerned about.

'National are playing their cards close to their chest at the moment, but they might be looking at selling off TV2,' he told me.

Ralston also said that it has always been financially feasible to turn TV1 into fully-funded public service channel but that Labour has refused to even consider the idea largely out of 'ideological obstinency.'

With the New Zealand media largely controlled by a handful of overseas corporates, there has never been a more urgent need for a strong public broadcasting system to counter the dominance of corporate ideology and culture.

However this Labour Government has allowed free market ideology to get its tentacles around public broadcasting. The danger is that public broadcasting will be strangled to death.

The message will be, already coming from the likes of the National Business Review, is that the corporate-owned media will give us what we want - and what we want, of course, is what they give us.


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