6 Apr 2011

TVNZ to sell Avalon Studios

7:15 am on 6 April 2011

One of the last Television New Zealand shows to be filmed at Avalon Studios in Lower Hutt is being moved north.

TVNZ says it will put the studios near Wellington on the market in 2013 when contracts expire.

In the meantime, the daily lifestyle show Good Morning will be filmed in Auckland from next year.

TVNZ says it will make 12 fulltime equivalent positions redundant but some staff may be offered the chance to move.

TVNZ's Southern Operations Manager, Paul Mainwaring, would not be drawn on whether the eventual sale would spell the end for home-grown television at Avalon - saying only that the company was optimistic about the future and the site still had a lot to offer.

Mr Mainwaring says the studios have been commissioned for less work because of the tight economic climate, and have not been breaking even.

Former television personality Roger Gascoigne, who worked at Avalon from 1975 until 1990, says the studios are an incredible facility that have never been used to their full potential and it is a mistake to sell them.

Avalon opened in 1975 and has the biggest digital studio in New Zealand, but the state broadcaster has since shifted many of its shows to Auckland.

The horse racing channel, Trackside, is still based at Avalon.