NZ on Air role in talent show queried

Clare Curran
Clare Curran
Labour broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran has given a thumbs down to television show New Zealand's Got Talent after a Dunedin singer pulled out of the contest this week.

University of Otago music student Kylie Price (19) withdrew from the semifinals on Tuesday after Television New Zealand stipulated she sign an exclusive contract which prevented her from performing without its permission.

The 2012 Gold Guitar winner told the Otago Daily Times on Thursday she had withdrawn over the issue, but said she was unable to comment further due to contractual obligations.

TVNZ spokeswoman Meredith McGrath said the contract was a condition imposed by programme's producer Imagination Television Ltd.

However, Ms Curran yesterday hit out at the programme and NZ on Air, which provided $1.6 million funding for the series.

"New Zealand taxpayers should be aggrieved that a leading contender in New Zealand's Got Talent has withdrawn because of restrictive performance conditions placed on her by the privately owned company behind the show," Ms Curran said.

"Now, we have Dunedin singer Kylie Price being forced to pull out of the semifinals due to restrictive contractual conditions that she wasn't prepared to undertake and would have prevented her from performing elsewhere.

"Television New Zealand has confirmed the conditions were imposed by Imagination Television Ltd, the show's producers, and that they are applied to the UK-formatted programme universally.

"That just proves how commercial the show is and again raises questions about NZ on Air decisions to fund commercial 'commercially-attractive' local programmes," she said.

"It also highlights the extent to which these shows are shaped by factors that have little to do with local content and cultural functions.

"What is most worrying for Kiwi taxpayers is not just the extent to which commercial content is increasingly being funded by NZ on Air, but also the extent to which it has allowed itself to be bureaucratically captured by private media interests.

"The big question is that if taxpayers are funding these programmes, then who has the decision-making power over contracts and licence?" Ms Curran asked.

"Kylie Price has decided she's not having any of it and I say good on her."

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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