Broadcasting Minister spent nearly $400k for draft report into possible TVNZ-RNZ merger

Source: 1News

A draft report commissioned by the Broadcasting Minister into the merger of RNZ and TVNZ has cost the public nearly $400,000, despite it containing a lot of publicly-available information.  

Kris Faafoi hired PwC to produce a 100-page business case into the public media merger. 

The report paints a picture of the New Zealand media landscape and identifies key players at both organisations. It also found local media are under threat from global giants like Netflix. 

It’s prompted ACT leader David Seymour to ask: “He spent $400,000 to be told the internet is changing media. Really?” 

He continued: “The report itself says things like Kevin Kenrick is the CEO of TVNZ. Now, I knew that and I'd be very happy to write a report for 400 grand telling everybody.”

Seymour said the Government should be able to trust their advisors, instead of outsourcing the work. 

“This is an indictment on the quality of advice from the civil service.”

Former Government Minister Peter Dunne said spending $400,000 on a report that told the Government what it already knew, “then suppress the real information about the business case”, seemed like “a large waste of time”. 

When asked about the cost of the report, Faafoi, a former political journalist for TVNZ, said he always looked to spend taxpayers’ money wisely. 

“But, we want to make sure we’re doing a good job of this,” he said. 

1 NEWS asked whether the Government’s officials could have written the report. 

Faafoi said the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, which is responsible for media policy, was a “small shop”. 

“We knew that this is a big piece of work.”

Faafoi is now hiring firm Deloitte to complete work on the business case. 

He wouldn’t be drawn on the cost of the new report, but said the Government wanted to make sure taxpayers’ money was spent “wisely”. 

For $400,000, the Government could fund six more police officers on the street for a year. It could also choose to hire eight new nurses or eight new high school teachers.