6 Mar 2009

TVNZ to pay dividend despite financial shortfall

9:01 pm on 6 March 2009

The Government is refusing to waive its dividend from Television New Zealand, saying it would set a precedent for other companies.

The state broadcaster is considering job cuts as it tries to make up for a $30 million shortfall in its budget due to a drop in advertising revenue.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman says TVNZ has told him the company is focused on making the changes it needs to and is confident it will be able to pay its annual dividend.

He says if it dropped the dividend requirement other companies would demand the same treatment.

The Public Service Association, one of the unions representing TVNZ employees, says staff are shocked by the announcement of the job losses, particularly as they come just after the Government's summit about how to keep and create jobs.

Cuts will be made at TVNZ before the end of the financial year following a big fall in advertising revenue. Staff have been told redundancies are a possibility.

The broadcaster employs about 1000 people in total, including about 250 news employees.

It is understood executives are seeking to reduce staffing across the company by between 5% to 10%, mainly through attrition.

Radio New Zealand has been told TVNZ wants to cut job numbers by the end of April.