TVNZ to chop 90 jobs

Ninety jobs will go at Television New Zealand as the state broadcaster looks to save $25 million.

Redundancies were expected after the company announced last week that it was looking to make savings following lower than expected advertising revenues.

The job losses announced today come from most areas including news and current affairs, finance and legal, marketing, sports, broadcast services and corporate affairs.

Emerging business - online and licensing - will escape the freeze because they are "the revenue earning and growth areas of the company", TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis said.

In addition to the redundancies, Mr Ellis, the executive team and senior managers will face salary freezes.

Staff had come up with "a number of cost reduction and savings ideas and many were being actioned".

The 90 redundancies represented 25 percent of the cost reductions, Mr Ellis said.

Savings were also expected to be made from the programme commissioning budget (100 hours of local content to go) and departmental operating budgets (worth 10 percent of cuts).

"The impact on TV One and TV2 prime time schedules is not expected to be material.

"The news and current affairs programme line-up will remain unchanged."

A "small number" of people will go to a four-day working week and others will move from full-time to part-time.

Mr Ellis said the outlook was "uncertain for advertising-reliant media around the world".

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman last week reiterated Prime Minister John Key's position that TVNZ was still expected to pay a dividend.

"We do expect to get a dividend back from TVNZ and we've got confidence (in) the senior business people there that they are going to take the steps appropriate in this environment to make sure the taxpayer gets a return on a taxpayer investment," he told reporters.

Green Party broadcasting spokeswoman Sue Kedgley responded at the time saying the dividend requirement should be suspended to save jobs during the recession.

"We call on the Government to practise what it is preaching about helping to save jobs.

"The question must be asked, why is the Government so ready to bail out banks and dodgy finance companies, with virtually no strings attached, yet it is not prepared to lend a hand to its own publicly owned broadcaster."

In the year to June 30, 2008, the broadcaster paid the Crown a dividend of $10.3m after reporting an after-tax profit of $19.4m.

TVNZ will decide this year's dividend after the annual accounts are audited around August. The company has a policy of paying a dividend of 70 percent of profit after tax.

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