Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The perils of making news rather than reporting it

Judy Bailey, the TVNZ news reader, has managed to wrangle a $350,000 pay-rise, boosting her over-all pay-package to nearly $800,000 per annum. The government is extremely embarressed as the pay-rise sinks a gaping hole in their campaign to end the culture of extravaganza at State-owned enterprises. Cullen has gone so far as to refuse to express confidence in the Board.

Personally I think the TVNZ board was caught between a rock and a hard place. The market for presenters has risen since Kerry Packer decided to make Prime into a major channel and TV3 decided to take advantage of the demise of the Holmes show.
Since then TVNZ has hemorrhaged news-readers and personalities and so it had pay the remaining presenters whatever they asked for. If the Government doesn't want huge salaries paid out to autocue readers, then it has either a) sell TVNZ off or b) watch it wither into a public service broadcaster. Neither of these options are palatable.

I get the impression that the TVNZ management got their own back on Judy by making her announce the news the day the fuss over her salary blew up. She didn't look very happy and I daresay it'll be a cold day in hell before she asks for another huge pay increase. Fortunately for her, Mark Sainsbury had the decency to omit from his news article Helen's tart comment in Parliament today:
We would also expect that anyone appointed to a State-owned enterprises board would really not be pulling in large sums of money for 4 minutes on air a day.