TVNZ pays Chief Executive a bonus after massive plunge in profits

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, November 14th, 2017 - 40 comments
Categories: class war, Media, Privatisation, telecommunications, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, tv, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

From the you have to be kidding file.

TVNZ’s financial performance has been on the decline with the reduction in profit especially pronounced.  Its profit in 2016 was $12.7 million.  Last year it plummeted to $1.397 million.

After such a significant loss in profit you would expect the Chief Executive’s pay to be adversely effected.  But no.  In 2016 it was $1.1 million but last year it increased to  more than $1.35 million.  He personally earned almost as much as the company profit.

Is someone taking the piss?

From Stuff:

Television New Zealand boss Kevin Kenrick banked more than $500,000 in extra payments last year, the broadcaster has revealed, taking his salary to more than $1.35m.

TVNZ’s entire profit was only slightly larger than its chief executive’s pay. It made $1.392m for the year – down a whopping $11.295m on the previous year.

Kenrick collected a $409,727 bonus payment in September 2016 for meeting “performance criteria” and that, with other extra payments, significantly bumped up his base pay of about $840,000.

He’s by far the highest-earner at the network, with their annual report disclosing today that three other staff earn over half a million dollars a year. TVNZ do not have to disclose the names of those earners and have refused in the past to identify who their biggest on-screen bankers are.

The causes for the savage drop in profitability are described as being difficulties over a decision to bulk buy programming from Disney and reorganisation and redundancy costs relating to the newsroom.  Fair enough.  But rewarding the Chief Executive overseeing self imposed contracting difficulties is just strange.

And what happens elsewhere?

The highest-paid figure at RNZ is paid between $400,000 – $410,000.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the BBC, Tony Hall, was paid an annual salary of £450,000 as of March 2017 – equivalent to about $850,000 in New Zealand currency.

I will shock a few by saying this but maybe it is time to consider privatising TVNZ.  The released capital can be used to improve the performance of entities who do not use a rabid right winger as its front person and who do not pay the chief executive a bonus for overseeing a massive drop in profitability.

40 comments on “TVNZ pays Chief Executive a bonus after massive plunge in profits”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    So there’s not a lot of profit in having a right wing, Nat-cheerleader as TV host and election moderator?

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The SOE model doesn’t work. The best thing to do to TVNZ as it stands is to asset strip it and give everything of value to a public service broadcaster.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Yep. And the new public service platform will surely be RNZ+, with funding unfrozen.

      Hence the job swaps going on at RNZ with hosts with TV experience taking turns at the Checkpoint radio with pictures.

      And I suspect there will be a John Campbell TV show in the pipeline – maybe also Mihingarangi Forbes and Espiner.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        Yep. And the new public service platform will surely be RNZ+, with funding unfrozen.

        Yep, and RNZ deserve it. The last govt. did everything they could to try and bring the public broadcasting entity crashing down. Don’t forget John Key refused to be interviewed by RNZ staff for the first years of his reign. They reduced their funds then froze what was left. It was a disgusting display of bias and bullying by way of starvation.

    • OnceWasTim 2.2

      Yes!. Why privatise it? Keep the assets buildings, equipment et al for public service purpose

    • cleangreen 2.3

      yep agreed OAB. 100%

  3. patricia bremner 3

    So, all the hype about dropping programmes to increase revenue??

    Ha ha ha!! Pardon my mirth. New Zealanders voting with their feet? Had enough? Hell yes!! So sick of Hoskings et al.

    Bring back NZ content, decent production values and stories. We are sick of the tossers and the posers.

    Clare Curran has signaled public broadcasting. Yay, can’t wait. Bring it on. Some decent presenters and interviewers.

    I’m with Adrian, it is so good to have a team of people all working for us. Good things happening every day.

  4. MG 4

    It is unrealistic to compare BBC and TVNZ.

    While TVNZ is an SOE, it is reliant on advertising revenue, whereas BBC is Government funded.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      What an excellent idea.

      Commercial-free, unbound from any corporate loyalties. Reports to the public annually.

      Sustaining citizenship and civil society
      Promoting education and learning
      Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
      Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities
      Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
      Delivering to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services

      I agree, MG, we should definitely change TVNZ along these lines. Well said.

      PS: the British public pays for the BBC directly via license fees. So strictly speaking it isn’t “government funded”.

      • Craig H 4.1.1

        We used to do that until Ian Wishart got them to cave by constantly going on about the license fees being an illegal tax.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          Then I can think of a perfect name for the legislation to reinstate it 😈

          Or just fund it through taxation.

  5. DH 5

    The buck sure doesn’t stop there does it. Reminds me of the Fletcher Challenge bigwigs running around clucking it wasn’t their fault either.

    I don’t agree they should sell TVNZ off, not in this state anyway. An asset is valued by its yield and while there would be expectations of greater future yields by potential buyers offers would likely be well below the book value. Selling distressed assets is never a good idea.

    To my mind it’s the perfect opportunity to return TVNZ to being a public broadcaster. If it’s not making any money there’s no purpose to running it as a business so why not turn it into something useful instead.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.1

      It could be. However, my understanding is that built into such an organisation structurally, are all kinds of ways of operating, and related values that may be hard to change significantly. ie staff used to systems and ways of working that incorporate commercial values.

      That, I think, is why Labour is considering developing RNZ to a multimedia platform, because, at its core, they are organised around public service values. They may be able to shift some resources (cameras, IT equipment, etc) from TVNZ.

      RNZ has a great raft of (often young and keen) journalists. It also shouldn’t take much to expand Freeview channels to broadcast more diverse drama and documentaries according to a public service remit. Maori TV does that well.

      I don’t know about the potential to incorporate TVNZ’s website and that of RNZ for more ondemand, or straight to the web programmes?

      • DH 5.1.1

        It’s the infrastructure they need to keep. One of the quirks of business is you can depreciate your assets when the actual earnings capability of those assets doesn’t fall at all. A three year old camera can be worth bugger all on the books yet still do much the same work, and earn the same amount of money, as a brand new camera. That applies to office fitouts, broadcasting equipment and all the other plant that makes up its assets.

        Getting rid of the corporate culture is no big deal, that just requires a few changes to key staff and a new directive on how TVNZ is to operate.

        • OnceWasTim 5.1.1.1

          +100
          And when you look back over the years RNZ/RadioNZ/NZBC has been systematically stripped. (E.g. once owning its own transmission facilities, Broadcasting House Wellington, etc.)

          For me there are a number of issues. I’m a big fan of CBB/BPM, but I’ve always thought that striving for a single PS TV channel was too little.
          I don’t see why this population of 4.5 million can’t have
          RNZ National, RNZ Concert FM AND an on-air The Wireless (bear in mind people were advocating for a youth radio network years ago)
          and a TVNZ7 style TV1 as well as a TV2 style Heartland and children’s TV.
          PS TV could create alliances with other global public service broadcasters as well as NZ regional operators, simulcasts etc. for content.
          Then there’s NZ’s orchestras, and up and coming bands that have been absent from our screens for a long long time

          I also come from the perspective of public money going towards PSB – not towards effectively subsidising commercial TV.
          And I’m not sure all that ‘funder-provider’ model works that well. Years ago we tried that with our health system. What we’ve created is a number unnecessary bureaucracies many with highly paid execs.

    • cleangreen 5.2

      I stand with DH,

      TVNZ was paid up and established by us every taxpayer and should keep ownership and control of this “Public broacaster, not sellit off just because some idiot decided SOE was the way to ge as SOE is the progressive step to sale.

      Take our public assets back we say.

      And Claire please remove that awful word from ‘Radio NZ’ please as they use that swear word often called “National”

      Now it is introduced as;

      “Radio NZ National”

      So remove that draconian name “national” please as it is offensive.

  6. Cinny 6

    One would think if a companies profits took such a nose dive that the CE is not doing their job properly.

    Why on earth would they increase the C.E salary, if they can’t run the company correctly why would you give them more money? Unless there is some sort of underlying agenda… it makes no sense at all.

    Public broadcasting please, new CE please, time for some new stars to shine, hosking is yesterdays news.

  7. tc 7

    Good boy Kevin, here’s a final bone from national should they lose…. which they did.

    My how surprising, nice work from the ex travel exec with zero broadcasting experience who ensured the likes of hoskins remained with soapboxes for Boag etc on Q&A. Job Done Kev.

    There’s little of value to privatise Mickey as it’s been racing towards the bottom for years.

    No ability to make content and it can’t even buy content competently it seems. Gut it and transform it into a public broadcaster ensuring the numbers around the shonky skycity convention giveaway of land and buildings get prominence.

  8. savenz 8

    Shocking normal in our neoliberal world.

    Yep, make workers redundant, lose profits, lose viewers, become a right wing news outfit on the tax payers dime and WTF the CEO gets as much pay as their entire profit! Madness! And the pay is totally out of scale with what other CEO’s of better news organisation’s are earning.

    The first thing the government should do is stop the out of control public wages to CEO’s in councils and other tax payer funded organisations like TVNZ.

    No more that 20x the lowest workers. So if TVNZ employs someone at $15.75 p/h then max amount for top performance as measured by increased viewers, national and international awards, happy workers, balanced reporting, good feedback from viewers and staff etc etc) then max amount $655k for CEO and if lowest worker on living wage of $20 p/h then max amount $832k.

    Also there should be a metric linked to median pay so that it is an advantage for a CEO to have more people on median wages than lowest wages.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1

      65% tax on income above 500k would also help. And I think most NZers would support such a move. Cutting tax on the top tier has never been driven by public demand – it has been imposed by the rich influencing politics.

  9. I will shock a few by saying this but maybe it is time to consider privatising TVNZ. The released capital can be used to improve the performance of entities who do not use a rabid right winger as its front person and who do not pay the chief executive a bonus for overseeing a massive drop in profitability.

    Except that that doesn’t do what you want. We’ve seen several times where the CEO has presided over a massive drop in profits and even the collapse of the company getting a huge ‘performance’ bonus.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/24/bonus-for-pearson-chief-despite-biggest-loss-in-companys-history
    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/10/03/nine-ceo-gets-pay-rise-despite-annual-loss

    Privatisation has never resulted in the promised benefits. Instead, how about we stop running TVNZ as a profit making machine and turn it into community service with good documentaries providing high quality information and without advertising.

    Oh, and reduce CEO pay to say $150,000 per year less than the what the PM gets (the PM should be the highest paid civil servant in the country).

  10. Philg 10

    Let’s face it, he does have a lot of smelly stuff to shovel.

  11. cleangreen 11

    Mickey,

    Jst another grotesque result giving a public servant (CEO) all this money when our public service Radio NZ netwark is so poorly funded now it has no reginal reporters in many places any more now.
    HB Gisborne have been without a regional reporter for upwards to a year now and all other regions reporters are too busy to take our community issue to print or place on radio NZ now.

    I recieved a letter from a CEO office weeks ago after asking why we have no reporters here and this man said “currently we have no local reporter in your region,” so we are left withour our public repesentation while the TV networks still shell out thousands for a TV One CEO!!!!!

    Unbelievable.

  12. Ad 12

    It was good to see the State Service Commission dare to criticise the $800k salary of the CEO of NZSuper. last month.

    But for lack of Board control over salaries, and lack of enforcement from the State Services Commission for many years, we have to go back to the instigation of New Public Management from the late 1980s and the whole idea of the need for Board,s and Chief Executives of public entities as a whole:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_public_management

    https://eclass.uoa.gr/modules/document/file.php/PSPA108/4NPM%20origins.pdf

    I’m guessing that ripping that entire managerial carapace off Wellington would put the entire ruling class there into shock like little grey slaters running away from the sun. That really is the 1% that runs our public realm and its execution, rather than Ministers as a whole.

    They should sell off the profitable bits and merge the charter functions as a shell under RNZ. We have too many entities with too many boards and too much managerial make-work generating very little collective public good.

    Whether it would be worth the effort when it would simply piss off the elites and transform nothing, well, that’s another debate. about how much Ministerial time and effort the relevant Ministers would want to debate.

  13. Gristle 13

    Tvnz has been commercially hamstrung since the late 1990’s. All its attempts to generate alternate revenue streams and participate in a modern media environment have been hamstrung by the government.

    The philosophy was that a government entity couldn’t outperform private entities because everyone knows that is not what the neoliberal playback says. Therefore the government kept on pulling TVNZ out of expansion opportunities and taking cash from them. At one stage there was an attempt to load it up with debt because debt was good for companies and cash was good for the shareholder. Oh that bit of advice was from Westpac, who had no interest in the whole matter except for collecting fees and the interest.

    Parking TVNZ and using RNZ as its vehicle in broadcasting may make sense. I would love to see more information.

  14. KJT 14

    National “Governments cannot run a business”.

  15. tracey 15

    Maybe Nats thinking they would win the election watched as tvnz butned and were going to use public outrage to justify a sell off?

    • cleangreen 15.1

      All very very true there Tracey love it all Micky did great with this article.

      We need to reinstate martyn bradbury on Radio NZ too as he is highly motivated.

      Today his blog onhow to kill TPP is exellent we need to have him back interviewing at the sharp edge of politics.

      In his article today he has had discussions with Government and has released a plan to beat TPP.
      Take a look at this. we need him back inside politico again.

      Tuesday November 14th, 2017

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/14/being-economically-occupied-by-china-politically-owned-by-america-and-what-everyone-is-missing-about-how-to-defeat-tppa/#comment-408054

      Being economically occupied by China, politically owned by America and what EVERYONE is missing about how to defeat TPPA
      By Martyn Bradbury / November 14, 2017 /

      We can stamp our feet like the Green Party and the Unions have and throw a tantrum and just refuse to actually engage with the process OR we can see this as an opportunity to directly influence our political and economic independence.

      What was really funny about Q+A on TVNZ over the weekend was the naked shock so many of the journalists exhibited when the true extent of China’s influence over the National Party was exposed.
      That was followed up yesterday by Newsroom also examining the ground breaking academic study by Canterbury University Professor Anne-Marie Brady that shows the National Party of NZ is less a Political Party and more a front for Chinese Business interests.

      This is all hilarious because we here at The Daily Blog have been banging the ‘National-are- compromised-by-their-Chinese-mates’ drum for quite some time now…

      I simply don’t trust the National Party when it comes to handling our economic interests with China because the National Party itself is now wedded and compromised personally to wealthy Chinese interests. Jenny Shipley, Don Brash, Ruth Richardson and Chris Tremain are Director’s of the China Construction Bank, Judith Collins interaction with Chinese Officials to help her husbands Chinese Company, Oravida, to gain more Chinese money and Maurice Williamson’s love affair with Donghua Liu saw him become Liu’s personal handyman when doing up Liu’s batch and heavying the Police to drop domestic violence charges.
      The National Government are as dependent on their Chinese friends as the entire economy now has become.
      …the fact that Metiria’s courageous admission that she took for her child 25 years ago could face more scrutiny and attention from the mainstream media of NZ than a National Party MP who is a Chinese Spy tells you all you need to know about how fucking braindead our corporate media are, and also how their owners are very sensitive to annoying Chinese business interests themselves.
      The truth is that we are economically occupied by China. They see us as the Tibet of the South Pacific and in their cold war (soon to be hot war) with America over the Pacific, they intend to push their interests aggressively as they seek to become the dominant force in our region.
      This economic occupation by China is of course happening while we are utterly politically owned by America.

      Our inclusion into the 5 Eyes network with vast new upgrades for mass surveillance means our Intelligence Apparatus answers to Washington, not Wellington. The forced mass surveillance legislation rammed through under urgency, the rules gagging telecommunications companies from informing their customers that the GCSB or SIS are spying on them, aggressive whistleblower laws to prevent Public Servants from telling the people about illegal Government spying, the entire prosecution of Kim Dotcom and the attempt to assert US jurisdiction into cyberspace – all of these developments in NZ are part of an attempt by the deep state to cement their power over our political establishment.
      China to the Left of us, America to the right – and here I am stuck in the middle with you sleepy Hobbits.
      So what does a tiny country do when caught between two mammoth powers?
      You tread bloody carefully.
      What the new fangled CPTPP actually does is present NZ with a genuine opportunity to try and push for an independent economic direction with a trade deal that doesn’t include China or America.
      Are there still concerns about the ISDS powers that could drag us in front of an international tribunal?
      Of course there are.
      Are there concerns about protecting Māori sovereignty?
      Yes there is.
      Are there concerns that this trade deal will only help NZ big business and none of our small exporters?
      Absolutely.
      Does this CPTPP do enough to enshrine environmental and human rights?
      No it doesn’t.
      So what should we be doing as a response to this situation?
      The Greens bewilderingly have decided that they aren’t in fact members of the bloody Governmentand instead are stomping their foot like a petulant child who doesn’t like the rules of the game being played.

      Could someone please send the Green Party a memo that they are actually in the fucking Government now? You don’t just throw tantrums, that’s what Opposition Parties do, you are now the Government and as such have enormous influence over the final agreement.
      NZ First at least has the decency to show enough political skills to wait until the text is in front of us before they are ruling it out!
      What everyone needs to do now is pause, take a deep breath and just try to consider all the moving parts of this before throwing tantrums.
      I’ve argued that Jacinda, David Parker and Winston are all playing a dangerous game trying to navigate elites at home who want to trip the new Government up and an MFAT who are religiously free market and that the CPTPP represents us kicking for touch rather than a sell out of all the values arguing against the ISDS. Add the far larger geopolitical machinations between China and America and we either see the CPTPP as a means to advance our interests away from China and America or we all sulk while refusing to acknowledge that is even happening.
      Having spoken directly to David Parker and Jane Kelsey over the last 24 hours, here is the process that needs to occur before this thing is signed off.
      All 11 countries first have to
      • Finalise the negotiations (Japan is pushing for the sidelines of WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires in December; haven’t heard from the Canada end)
      • Scrub and revise the legal text
      • Sign the text (Japan is saying this should happen in Japan in January)
      Each party then undertakes its own domestic processes
      Standing orders (397) require a new agreement (which this is branded as) or an amendment to an existing agreement to be tabled in the House with an NIA.
      That is referred to the select committee, which does not have to hear submissions but the PM said they would.
      The committee has to report to the house – although there is no requirement for a vote. National did not even have a debate on the report, only the implementing legislation. There is no set time frame.
      It is not clear whether any implementing legislation would then be required; they will probably have to make some amendments to the existing Act to change the entry into force provisions regarding the IP stuff.
      So what this all means is that there has to be a process, and it is our obligation as citizens to interact with that process to ensure that the CPTPP poses no threats to our democracy, that it it actually benefits all NZ business and not just some and that it protects the environment and human rights WHILE providing us independence from China and America.
      Now, we can stamp our feet like the Green Party and the Unions have and throw a tantrum and just refuse to actually engage with the process OR we can see this as an opportunity to directly influence our political and economic independence.
      You can’t be screaming about corporate threats to our democracy and ignore the current influence China and America has over our democracy because to do so would make you sound really stupid.
      IF during the process we can’t get what we want, we always have the option to walk away and outright oppose it, but to do that before we’ve even understood the process or considered the geopolitical realities seems like the actions of children who are not ready yet for the big questions.
      So what are we? Children or Adults?

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