The Government must explain why it is spending $370 million to merge TVNZ and RNZ, National’s Broadcasting and Media spokesperson Melissa Lee says.

“When I asked the Minister for Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson why he was spending taxpayers’ money to merge TVNZ and RNZ in Parliament today, he was completely unable to say what that spending will achieve.

At $370 million, the Government is going to spend more to merge RNZ and TVNZ than the combined net worth of those entities.

"The fact that the Minister responsible cannot articulate why this merger is necessary clearly demonstrates how wasteful and pointless it is. The lack of a Regulatory Impact Statement or a cost benefit analysis shows no attempt at openness or transparency.

“This Government is addicted to spending. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, it wants to spend $370 million on a merger that submitters on the legislation have said has ‘no vision or substantial rationale.’

“Worse, as many submissions have said, the editorial independence of the merged entity is not guaranteed.

“Willie Jackson cannot help himself. In Parliament today, he continued his call for a ‘change in attitude’ at TVNZ, which sounds worryingly like an attempt to influence the state broadcaster.

"The Minister’s performance and his inability to answer simple questions shows he is unfit for the challenges of New Zealand’s broadcasting and media sector. Kiwis and New Zealand’s media landscape deserve so much better."