close
MENU
2 mins to read

Minister wants action from RNZ board

Radio New Zealand board members have not been threatened with removal by Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman, but are aware they have no option but to deliver cost-saving measures like all other government-funded organisations, the minister says.
The

NZPA
Thu, 18 Feb 2010

Radio New Zealand board members have not been threatened with removal by Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman, but are aware they have no option but to deliver cost-saving measures like all other government-funded organisations, the minister says.

The public broadcaster's board is due to face a Parliamentary select committee today and is likely to be grilled in light of reports that cost-saving directives by the Government are being resisted.

Mr Coleman said he had not made threats to board members over their jobs, but had made his expectations clear.

"What I have said to the chair (Christine Grice) is that there is a significant challenge here and I do need reassurance that you feel you have the right personnel on the board, and that you personally are up for the challenge," he said during an interview with the broadcaster this morning.

That challenge involved looking at all operational options including staffing numbers, sponsorship arrangements and studio budgets.

"It's a matter of saying 'look, what can we do for the money that's available'. It's a matter of looking at all their operations, looking at what the public requirements are, taking a realistic look at a whole lot of things from programming services through to regional offices, how the head count has grown over the last 10-years from 214 to over 280 now..."

Mr Coleman said the board needed to look at opportunities for generating new revenue, such as selling its news service, and reassess current "sacred cows" such as having no sponsorship during the Concert programme.

Some of the suggestions he had seen to date, including reverting back to the AM frequency for much of the country, were not acceptable.

Mr Coleman said the board also needed to investigate whether it was viable to have major studios in both Wellington and Auckland.

"I'm not directing them on what options to choose, but I certainly want them to thoroughly examine the range of options, and finally, adopting some of those options is going to actually entail a change of mind-set..."

Today's select committee hearing has been on the agenda for several weeks and is a routine financial review, but MPs can raise anything they like.

NZPA
Thu, 18 Feb 2010
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
Minister wants action from RNZ board
2650
false