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Paul Henry Asks Questions of Government

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, October 6th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: Media, tv - Tags:

The TVNZ that this government presides over is dysfunctional.  As the government is only interested in profits and getting its dividend, they are creating a culture of ratings-driven drivel.  Bigotry, incitement and emptiness are all fine, if they bring in a couple more advertiser dollars.

But with Paul Henry’s outburst on Monday morning, John Key’s weekly vehicle to be asked soft questions by a former National Party candidate on state TV went all awry.  The ratings-driven culture where nastiness is fine showed far too close to Teflon Jon.  And all he could do was Smile and Wave – or in this case laugh.

Yesterday morning Radio New Zealand tried to contact the board of TVNZ.  Only 1 was contactable, and they refused to comment as they didn’t know anything of the latest furore…  After it had been the biggest news story all day, it seems there must be very close governance going on….

This article contains unsourced unverified information from wikipedia

We are very far from the BBC’s Reithian mission to educate, inform and entertain.  With dozens of jobs going from the newsroom this year and last, and probably more cuts in the works, the quality of news and factual programming is inevitably declining.  With the constant focus on money, New Zealand culture and programming is ignored as cheap tat is brought in from overseas.  This is not TV for the good of the nation.

Labour’s charter was flawed and an untenable half-way house, but at least it was a step in the right direction.  I spent most of the Clark years overseas, and returned to find an Aotearoa not just much wealthier economically, but also much wealthier culturally.  But while great strides were made in developing a New Zealand identity in music and the arts, TV didn’t make the same great improvements.  The charter was a start, but it needed the funding to back it up, and a new management that was committed to Educating, Informing and Entertaining New Zealand whilst improving New Zealand culture.

We deserve a channel that promotes New Zealand interests.  One that has a set minimum percentage of kiwi content, and targets for quality.  One with a strong independent newsroom, that’s not dependent on ads or sponsorship.  One that will develop New Zealand’s voice, culture and talent, not enhance bigotry and dumb-down the population.

This is all affordable – most other western countries do it.  PBS is the US, ABC in Australia, BBC in Britain, and channels all across Europe.  A channel to allow local culture to flourish and to have news without an agenda; that everyone can trust.  Radio NZ costs us about 2c each / day – turning TVOne into a proper New Zealand state channel would be a little more expensive, but it’s no outrageous amount to help us be the nation we want to be.

19 comments on “Paul Henry Asks Questions of Government”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    Turning TV One into a proper public broadcaster may not cost anything much at all if it were funded from the sale of TV2 and then the money held in a trust to fund TV One over the long term. But I guess that would be – shock! horror! – “privatisation” so couldn’t possibly be allowed to happen.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      Actually I don’t think there would be all that much objection. There might not be much trust in National setting up a proper public broadcaster though, because that would be –gasp!– socialism.

    • Ari 1.2

      It wouldn’t be privatisation, it would be splitting the bastard chimera of TVNZ into a public TV1 and a private TV2. The current system doesn’t really serve the public interest at all, so it would be much closer to nationalisation of TV1.

    • Bunji 1.3

      I’d definitely prefer to keep TV2 to help fund TVOne/TV6/7 (why are we always desperate to sell off profitable things that help pay our way?); but I could live with TV2 being sold and the money being held in trust for TVOne – if we indeed got a quality national channel, secured for the long term, out of it. That would be a price worth paying in my opinion. But as I say, why not just keep it and use the profits to help pay for TVOne?

  2. Bored 2

    Actually Matthew, I could not give a monkeys if TV2 were privatised and TV One became a proper public broadcaster. More importantly the only reason I would keep TV2 is to generate income to fund a better public TV service. All I ever see on TV2 is American body count crap, runreal reality shows etc, it has as much interest as a dead dingo to me. Of course if we had a proper public broadcaster we might (shock horror) generate income as well in order to supply TV2 with a better standard of what they show…..who knows?

    • spot 2.1

      I think that if we were to go down the full PSB/charter route then we’d have to look pretty hard at where RNZ and MTS might also fit in the mix….

      …could take a good look at “NZ on Air” and the like as well…if you look at the BBC/UK licence fee model, there’s a good hunk that fee funding allocated via ITV, C4/5 etc….News/CA, childrens, “public importance”, accessibility services etc etc…..

      • Bunji 2.1.1

        Currently no UK licence fee goes to ITV, C4 or five – although that is an ongoing debate, particularly for Channel 4 which is a public service broadcaster, expected to pay its own way. ITV / five make claims on it too, as they have public service obligations to go with their licence, but are taken less seriously, as they are privately owned.

        The BBC does provide a long list of channels however, BBC1&2 on terrestrial, 3&4 on digital, CBBC & CBeebies for children etc. Also have local news departments across the country that provide a couple of bulletins/day on BBC1. All without ads, and all for a reasonable licence fee. I’m not proposing anything so grand…

        But yes, RNZ / MT / NZOnAir would all need looking at how they’d fit in with a new chartered station – but I doubt there’d want to be any merging, much as it might make sense to pool news resources.

        • spot 2.1.1.1

          …I stand corrected, I thought they lost exclusivity on the fee and had it top-sliced for regional News and the like, maybe that was last UK Election policy stuff, rather than reality…

          The merging question is tricky, as would some sort of structural split of TVOne and 2….we can take a look at Kordia for an example of what can happen with debt/costs…

          TV2 would have a large number of high-cost output programming deals on its books, and not sure what sort of revenue hit overall from a loss of TVOne ad-sales….and no doubt the real cost of business at TVNZ is lost in the mists of its internal accounting and subsidisation…..

          It’d need to be a long term plan for sure….

  3. tc 3

    M Hooton’s almost got it in one except you’d keep TV2 as the cash cow with the high ratings/ad revenue shows to fund TV1 however the problem remains the well below par quality of management at TVNZ.

    Recycling Rick, his tabloid ex Ch9 Oz news chief Flannery and the laughable programming dept who move/remove shows without any regard for the intelligent viewer spring to mind.

    Labour’s charter was a good start but they lacked the bollocks and contacts to get a public TV savvy board/exec team in place so TVNZ fought it tooth and nail which shows how anti-public broadcasting the current crop are.

    What happened on monday was totallly predictable…PH playing the inflammatory/controversial role Recycling Rick’s on record as saying ‘that’s why he’s there’ and sideshow doing what he does best….absolutely nothing.

  4. Sorry, but TVNZ is too far gone.

    Aside from some equipment and the frequencies it transmits on, a TV channel is people. And TVNZ is full of people who don’t belong anywhere near an operation that is designed to “educate, inform and entertain” because they don’t care about the first two (and wouldn’t know how if they did) and have a perverse view of what constitutes the third.

    Try to morph TV1 into a quality broadcaster with them on board and you’ll fail… and end up fighting PGs for the next decade.

    Sell the entire rotting edifice, let Murdoch or someone decide whether to keep the luvvies, and use the money to create a new vehicle, free to hire the best people (assuming they wanted to move) and reject the rest; and free to inject some new thinking and hire people with an appreciation for what makes good television.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    When I was on the TelstraClear help desk I had one customer who had pay TV simply so he could watch the History Channel. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing else worth watching. I suspect that’s true of many people except that they just don’t pay for TV at all.

    This is what TVNZ should be doing. Documentaries on our history, in depth looks at what political decisions have done to the country especially compared to what they were supposed to do and a good news channel (Yes, I actually think a 24 hour news channel is worth it). They should not be chasing profit. In fact I’d say that advertising should be removed from it.

    So, four channels
    1.) A history channel
    2.) A political channel
    3.) A news channel
    4.) A local entertainment/culture channel

    Can’t get 24 hour coverage on all of them? Not a problem

  6. rich 6

    Isn’t the income mostly needed to pay inflated salaries to the likes of Henry?

    If they lost the star culture and relied on keen young broadcasters they would be able to reduce the dependence on grabbing advertising at all costs.

  7. Wyndham 7

    A long time ago, in pure desperation, I took to watching the Maori channel and found that it carries most informative news segments, has many interesting docos of both N.Z. and overseas origin, shows good films (often European) as well as many NZ based entertainment programmes. There are often sub-titles sure, but this is a minor price to pay to be rid of the crime ridden pap nightly presented on TVNZ.

  8. Lest we forget:

    I just came across this article reminding us that as well as his latest episode, Henry also:

    – Used the term “schizo” when conducting an interview with an employment relations expert about personality types;

    – Called homosexuality “unnatural”;

    – Called people with OCD “crazy freaks”;

    on top of the moustache / “retarded” stuff of course.

    Paul Henry: equal opportunity bigot.

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