Jeremy Rose

Karl du Fresne on Radio NZ

Karl du Fresne hooks into the left wing jobsworths at Radio New Zealand. TVNZ returns a profit and a dividend to the taxpayer, Radio NZ is nothing but a cost centre.

It is funded by the taxpayer and generates no commercial revenue. Its funding has been frozen since 2009, which suggests it doesn’t rate highly in the Government’s priorities. In fact, if Wellington gossip is to be believed, there are influential figures in the Government who are at best indifferent, and possibly even hostile, to the state broadcaster.

Take Steven Joyce, for example. As the fourth-ranked minister in the Cabinet, he carries a lot of clout – probably more than his ranking suggests.

He is also a former broadcasting entrepreneur who built a small New Plymouth radio station into the RadioWorks network and pocketed $6 million when he sold his interest.

Mr Joyce is said to be less than sympathetic to arguments that RNZ deserves more money. And while there may be others in the Cabinet who don’t share his robust support for private enterprise (it would be interesting, for example, to know the attitude of the attorney-general, Chris Finlayson), the brutal reality is that National probably takes the view that there’s little electoral risk in upsetting RNZ listeners because most of them vote Labour anyway.  Read more »