Mediaworks denied they were the leak

July 6th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New documents cast doubt on Newshub’s claim that it admitted leaking an interest rate decision before it was investigated.  …

However Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler had earlier briefed the central bank’s board that MediaWorks had had to be prodded into admitting the leak.

“MediaWorks conducted its own investigation and initially said they had found no leak,” the Reserve Bank minutes of March 17 read.

“However, after prompting from Deloitte, MediaWorks had searched again and found the emails containing the leaked information.”

The Reserve Bank declined to comment. MediaWorks has been approached for comment.

Doesn’t really help their brand, having an OIA reveal they were economical with the truth.

Mediaworks banned from Reserve Bank media conferences

May 10th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Reserve Bank has banned MediaWorks from its media conferences until further notice as punishment for its journalists leaking sensitive market information from the Official Cash Rate cut decision in March. …

An advisory from the bank says representatives “from Mediaworks news outlets are excluded from Reserve Bank media conferences until further notice” as a result of the March 10 leak.

That is appropriate. The exclusion should not last forever, but there should be some consequences for their breach of the terms of the media lockup.

It would have been better for the Reserve Bank not to scrap the lock ups, but just exclude Mediaworks from them (as they have now done for media conferences).

It occurs to me that the best “punishment” for the serious breach by Mediaworks would have been for Treasury to exclude Mediaworks staff from the Budget lockup. Not attending a Reserve Bank media conference or lock up is a very very minor thing. But if you were excluded from the Budget lockup, you’d be massively disadvantaged as all the other media would have had two hours head start to write their stories. Excluding from one Budget lockup would be sufficient to get the message across about consequences.

Real Housewives of Auckland

May 6th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Mediaworks’ under-fire chief executive Mark Weldon says New Zealand is “very low” in broadcast hours for reality television – signalling further investment in reality shows by the broadcaster.

While its news division is in turmoil after a string of exits headlined by star news anchor Hilary Barry, Mediaworks is focusing on producing more reality TV by forming a new company, Bravo New Zealand.

It’s a partnership with NBCUniversal – which makes shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, Million Dollar Listing and Real Housewives – which provides content to 176 territories worldwide, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. …

Mediaworks will close the youth-oriented channel FOUR in July and replace it with Bravo New Zealand. Bravo will screen reality shows such as Million Dollar Listing, Top Chef, Shahs of Sunset, Flipping Out and The Real Housewives.

The first local offering on the channel, The Real Housewives of Auckland, launches in August.

Weldon said MediaWorks had identified a gap in the market for female-oriented reality programming, which tends to engender loyal and passionate fans. 

As a commercial decision, this makes sense. Reality TV stars don’t cost anything in terms of salaries, and actors do.

I don’t watch much reality TV, as I just don’t have the time any more. But they can be quite addictive. I used to watch The Amazing Race and Survivor heaps.

The Real Housewives of Auckland sounds somewhat compelling. Not for me, but I can see it doing well.


Weldon resigns

May 4th, 2016 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

Newshub reports:

Today the MediaWorks Board has announced that Mark Weldon has resigned from his position as CEO.

The Board has accepted Mark’s resignation and respects his decision.  

Mark Weldon commented: “I wish to share the news that, last night, I notified the MediaWorks Board of my resignation from my role as CEO.


This is not a huge surprise. There was such obvious internal discontent that it seemed obvious either Weldon would go, or more staff would leave.

Mediaworks staff may find a different CEO won’t result in better outcomes for them. Television and media companies face a very challenging environment and declining revenue.

Hilary Barry quits TV3

April 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

One of TV3’s biggest and most popular stars, newsreader Hilary Barry, has quit the network.

Her departure is the second high-profile casualty at TV3 in the past year after John Campbell left in May when his show Campbell Live was dumped.

The Weekend Herald can reveal Ms Barry, who has been with the company since 1993, resigned on Thursday. There is speculation she is headed to rival broadcaster TVNZ.

This is a huge loss for TV3. Barry is pretty much their most well known face. They’ve lost many other top presenters and journalists also. It is hard to see how they turn around their decline.

Mediaworks almost loses Budget lockup for everyone

April 25th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

The Treasury has confirmed it is to go ahead with a lock-up for journalists for the budget on May 26, despite the Reserve Bank’s decision to end the briefings.

In a note sent to media organisations, Treasury chief executive Gabriel Makhlouf said he had weighed up whether to end the practice. “On balance, I have decided that an embargoed briefing for Budget 2016 will be held as planned. However, I will continue to review both the overall status of future Budget briefings and the ability of organisations to attend, in light of the adherence to lock-up conditions.”

This means there was a serious chance that Treasury could have canned the lockups.

It is unfortunate that Mediaworks has not been punished in anyway for their breach of the Reserve Bank lockup. As I said, they should at least pay the cost of the investigation.

Mediaworks broke Reserve Bank lockup rules

April 15th, 2016 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

The Reserve Bank announced:

An independent investigation has confirmed that highly sensitive and valuable market information on the March Official Cash Rate (OCR) cut decision was leaked by a journalist ahead of the official release, the Reserve Bank said today.

Following the investigation, the Bank will tighten its procedures for the release of confidential information.  The Bank will discontinue embargoed lock-ups for news media and analysts ahead of announcements of interest rate decisions, Monetary Policy Statements and Financial Stability Reports.

The investigation by Deloitte’s forensic unit found that, contrary to the rules of the lock-up, information on the Bank’s decision to cut the OCR was transmitted by a Newshub Mediaworks reporter to several people in the Newshub office from the media lockup for the Monetary Policy Statement on 10 March.

This information was then passed on by another person in Newshub Mediaworks, well before the MPS official release, to an economics blogger.

This is very bad behaviour by Mediaworks and I believe the fair thing would be for Mediaworks to pay for the cost of the investigation, rather than taxpayers.

Multiple staff behaved badly. In summary what happened:

  • A Mediaworks employee e-mailed a draft story an hour before the lockup finished to his colleagues. This was clearly against the rules. I have been in Budget lockups and you are told multiple times, and in writing, that you must not communicate with anyone before the lock up concludes. In an OCR lockup it is even more vital as currency markets will change on the OCR news.
  • The Mediaworks employees who got the e-mail discussed it amaongst themselves, instead of telling the reporter he should not have sent it to them early
  • Another Mediaworks employee overheard the conversation and for some reason decided to leak it to an economics blogger, Michael Reddell

The actions of the journalist in the lockup and the employee who leaked it to Reddell are appalling. Mediaworks should discipline them. Instead they won’t even name them.

Most media must know who was the Mediaworks journalist in the lockup. Why has he not been named? If it was say an analyst for a major trading bank who broke lockup rules, I’m sure their name will be in the media.

Finally this brings us ot the decision to end the lockups, I think this is regrettable. Lockups play a valuable role in allowing media and analysts to read the background to decisions, and write a more considered story. In an age where media compete to be the first to report the news online, lockups are even more valuable.

The better course of action for the Reserve Bank would be to ban Mediaworks employees from their lockups for say 12 months. Getting rid of the lockups punishes the innocent and will lead to a reduction in the quality of analysis of the Reserve Bank decisions.

Drinnan on Ardern and Weldon

March 18th, 2016 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

John Drinnan writes:

MediaWorks’ withdrawal from current affairs and its focus on reality shows has led to the perception that it is being dumbed down.

Chief executive Mark Weldon’s “no dissent” management style and a flood of staff departures have led to criticism in the media, and on the left of the political spectrum.

The commonly advanced view from many of those critics is that the current management is taking TV3 to hell in a handcart.

I have had my own differences with Weldon, but I believe that to a degree, coverage of MediaWorks has been personalised against him.

With an open letter this week from Labour MP Jacinda Ardern, TV3’s shift appears to have become politicised.

Ardern accused Weldon of destroying TV3.

I found the political attack on a private business appalling.

I hate to think of the reaction from the Left if a National politician had attacked another media business for its business plan.

Admittedly, TV3 plays a big part in the culture.

I asked Ardern if it was appropriate for a senior politician to attack the business plan of a private business.

She said she would not have written the letter if she was a Cabinet Minister.

“I am an Opposition MP, and on this occasion chose to use my voice to articulate concerns that I know are shared by many.”

The column attacking Weldon was personal and nasty. Decisions at Mediaworks are not made by one individual. I don’t think Mediaworks is doing well, but you have a board, major shareholders who appoint the board, a CEO and a senior leadership team.

Ardern made it all about Weldon and personalised it. If she says the letter would have been inappropriate as a Minister, then how does it look coming from an aspiring Minister. Think if she became Minister of Broadcasting. It would be an effective demand to Mediaworks that they sack Weldon, or face a Government that will look to punish them.


June 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Heather du Plessis-Allan and Duncan Garner will host Story, TV3’s new 7pm current affairs show, MediaWorks has announced.

MediaWorks group head of news Mark Jennings said Story would be a “smart, fun and thought-provoking show that will lead the way in daily current affairs”.

“Story will focus on the issues that are relevant and important to all New Zealanders. We will be looking for the best stories, the most interesting stories and the stories New Zealanders are talking about,” he said.

It looks like it will be somewhere between Campbell Live and Seven Sharp. Campbell Live’s problem was it was so relentlessly negative on everything it drove viewers away until it was on life support, while Seven Sharp is entertaining but often has little focus on current affairs.

Garner said he expected fun, laughter and entertainment.

“I see this as a great chance to be part of a programme that will reflect our country and our lives – no matter where we live.

“And when those in power in Wellington, or in your own community, make bad decisions, mislead you or are hypocrites, I promise – you can rely on us to keep them honest – simple.”


Du Plessis-Allan said she was excited to be part of TV3’s “new chapter”.

“Duncan is one of the best journalists around so I’m stoked to be able to learn from him. But Duncan, if you’re reading this; don’t let it go to your head. I’m not your sidekick. In fact, they told me, you’re my sidekick.”

MediaWorks chief executive Mark Weldon said du Plessis-Allan and Garner were two of the most engaging and talented journalists in the country.

“Together they represent a major investment by MediaWorks in the future of current affairs leadership in New Zealand.”

I think this could be a very good show. Duncan and Heather are indeed both engaging, but they are also very skilled interviewers. They can do light and fluffy, but they can also go for the jugular when it is warranted.

Heather’s comment about Duncan being her sidekick is one of the reasons it should work – they’ll spark off each other.

I have not watched any of the 7 pm “current affairs” shows regularly for years. I plan to put Story onto series record, and watch it regularly.

Mediaworks apologises to Tamihere

June 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former RadioLive talkback hoast John Tamihere says he is moving on after a tough 18 months for his family following the settlement of his defamation action against Mediaworks.

Mr Tamihere sued his former employer over the handling of his exit from his talkback job in the wake of fallout after a controversial interview during the Roastbusters scandal.

MR Tamihere said he was happy the matter had been resolved.

“This has been a tough 18 months on my children and family,” he said.

“But the settlement means we can move on, so I accept MediaWorks’ apology.”

Mediaworks today apologised unreservedly to Mr Tamihere, who sued the company – which operates TV3 and radio stations such as The Rock and RadioLive – in December 2013 alleging defamation and breach of contract. He said he had been made a scapegoat following a public backlash to an interview with a female caller who claimed to be friends with one of the Roastbusters’ victims.

The case had appeared destined for a lengthy period of litigation until a surprise settlement was agreed on Friday. Lawyers for Mediaworks had sought to have the case settled by private mediation. In response Mr Tamihere had lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal arguing the case should be heard in an open court.

That action was withdrawn once the two parties a reached a confidential settlement – which includes a commitment by Mediaworks to broadcast an apology before or after a prime time news bulletin.

Maybe Mediaworks will think twice next time before sacking a host just because of a Twitter led boycott.

TV3 in trouble?

June 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime News out-rated its TV3 competitor last night, as the MediaWorks’ channel lost nearly half its audience in two weeks.

3 News drew an audience of 166,000 viewers last night – 13,000 less than Prime News, which screens half an hour earlier at 5.30pm.

Two weeks ago, 3 News attracted nearly double that figure, with 314,000 viewers tuning in.

Media commentator Martin Gillman says the numbers are surprising and will be the cause of serious concern at MediaWorks, which is currently examining its news and current affairs programming in a bid to maximise revenue.

“News makes up a significant part of the schedule and is too important for them to lose out so badly,” he said.

The ratings slide coincides with changes to TV3’s Sunday night schedule, which saw it move to a reduced half-hour news bulletin, ahead of the weekly current affairs programme 3D.

It’s only one night, and a Sunday night, but wow ranking lower than Prime News is unheard of.

How not to apologise

April 18th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

John Drinnan writes in the Herald:

A source said another option canvassed was the notion of a show in the style ofJono and Ben, or Hard Copy. In this column last week – based on a conversation that looked at the review of Campbell Live, I mistakenly attributed this idea to a TV3 document.

So the column was wrong. So is this an apology for the column being wrong? Nope, don’t apologise – just attack.

My source said this was not the case, but that such ideas had been discussed. MediaWorks responded with vigour, accusing me, and the Herald, of “fabricating” the story. That would be unethical behaviour that I have not been, and will not be, involved in.

“The statement in John Drinnan’s articles in relation to the Jono and Ben show, which is attributed to ‘TV3 bosses’, is a complete fabrication and is not based on fact.

“Jono and Ben has never once been mentioned in any MediaWorks management forum, discussion or document as a possible replacement for Campbell Live.”

While I made, and corrected, an error about where the idea came from – it was actually from a discussion, not in a document as I believed – that statement implies dishonesty. The allegation represents the aggressive approach at MediaWorks since the middle of last year, which a source say represents a paranoia about other media. There is an increasingly tense relationship between that company and NZME., publisher of the Herald, which is a direct competitor with MediaWorks.

So attack Mediaworks for pointing out that the column was wrong.

There is a huge difference between something being in a formal document, and someone saying this came up in a conversation. A world of difference. One is provable, and one is not. A document has been formally signed off by a number of people. A conversation could be a couple of people in the staff room thinking aloud.

The column that stated Mediaworks had a document which proposed possibly replacing Campbell Live with Jono and Ben did huge damage to Mediaworks. They were attacked for it, and ridiculed. Until I read this column today, I did not realise the claim was false. It is a very grudging back down.

When I make mistakes (which can be often), I’ll generally quickly apologise and correct.

I accept that Drinnan made a mistake, and did not deliberately get it wrong. But it was a serious mistake, and as Mediaworks knows for 100% certainty there is no document that mooted Jono & Ben as a replacement, it is no surprise they would denounce a story that claimed there was.

I am a regular reader of John Drinnan’s columns as they often provide great insight into the media, which you don’t get elsewhere. But a media commentator who takes to task other sections of the media when they get it wrong, should perhaps live by the standard they set for others.

Campbell lawyers up

April 11th, 2015 at 10:29 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

John Campbell has reportedly hired a lawyer to take on Mediaworks in the battle to keep Campbell Live on air.


On Friday night’s show Campbell thanked viewers for the support he had received since Mediaworks confirmed it was looking to review the current affairs show, after its ratings appeared to have fallen far below rival Seven Sharp.


Campbell has enlisted the help of lawyer and former journalist Linda Clark, reported.

Not sure this is a smart move. A smart move would be sitting down with Mediaworks and discussing ways to regain viewers. Bringing in the lawyers is unlikely to end well.

If I was Mediaworks and Campbell, I’d be looking at why they have lost so many viewers. I’d do a couple of focus groups of current and former viewers, and some quantitative research also.

What they need to work out, is whether people are no longer watching Campbell Live because they are switching off TV all together, or are they preferring Seven Sharp or Shortland Street? Is the problem that they don’t get enough viewers watching 3 News also?

Bringing in lawyers won’t help fund answers to those questions.

Radio NZ well off compared to the ABC

May 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Coalition for Better Broadcasting (aka the Coalition for higher taxation) has said:

The Coalition for Better Broadcasting is disappointed at the lack of recognition for Radio NZ in the 2014 Budget. In fact the Budget represents a drop in funding for the public broadcasting sector in general, delivering gains to Sky TV in the process.

Radio NZ must survive another year on 2008 budget levels.

Sure budget restraint is tough. But look at what has happened in Australia with the ABC losing $120 million of funding. Now’s that worth whining about. And there is a link – if you don’t get spending under control, then you eventually do have to do major spending cuts to balance the budget.

Who does this favour? Commercial radio networks such as Mediaworks, the company partly established by Cabinet Minister Steven Joyce. 

This shows the leanings of the CBB, which recently defended the right of TVNZ staff to be Labour Party activists. First of all, so what if Steven Joyce founded Mediaworks. He sold it years ago in a hostile takeover. But the CBB shows their total lack of understanding how hard it is for broadcasters who do not get funded by the taxpayer.

Mediaworks made a loss of $318 million two years ago and $90 million last year. And the CBB has the audacity to complain commercial broadcasters are being favoured.

Mediaworks would love a sugar daddy that can guarantee them the same income as 2008.

Tamihere sues for $620,000

February 4th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Tamihere is seeking damages of over $620,000 in a suit filed with the High Court on December 23 last year.

The Herald has obtained a copy of Tamihere’s statement of claim and sworn affidavit.

They reveal:

*Tamihere claims MediaWorks had agreed to renew his $10,000-a-month contract for 2014 and he is suing for the full amount after the contract was not renewed following the scandal.

That’s $120,000. Where does the other $500,000 come from?

*Tamihere alleges MediaWorks also failed to publish the findings of an internal complaints review process that found Jackson and Tamihere’s interview with “Amy” had not breached any broadcasting standards.

*Tamihere claims the effect was to allow the public to think Tamihere had been fired for misconduct over his role in the interview but that Jackson had done nothing wrong. Tamihere’s defamation claim is for $500,000 in damages plus costs.

Oh, it’s a defamation suit – not an employment dispute. That will be interesting.

It’s all Sky’s fault!

June 17th, 2013 at 5:11 pm by David Farrar

Clare Curran released:

The Government’s refusal to break the stranglehold of pay-TV company Sky on the media market has contributed to the position MediaWorks finds itself in today, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.

This is bizarre. Clare seems to have a fetish against Sky TV. It seems they are responsible for everything bad in broadcasting (despite keeping Backbenches on the air) and somehow are magically responsible for Mediaworks taking on too much debt.

TVNZ has remained profitable, so blaming the receivership of Mediaworks on Sky TV is ridiculous, and scapegoating. In fact their problems are long-standing around their level of debt.

“Instead of throwing a $43 million loan at MediaWorks three years ago to bail them out of a short term sticky situation, the Government should have done what most other countries do and free up the market to enable free to air television to compete with pay-television.

I’ve never heard of a loan with commercial interest rates (now repaid) being referred to as throwing money away before.

And by “free up the market”, I presume the actual intent is to regulate against Sky for being too successful!

I notice Clare’s press release is not on the Labour website. Does her statement speak on behalf of the Labour Party? Do they also believe that Sky TV is responsible for Mediaworks having too much debt?

Receivership for Mediaworks

June 17th, 2013 at 12:40 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Presenters and staff at embattled MediaWorks will keep their jobs following receivers being appointed to the company, but the taxpayer – potentially owed tens of millions of dollars – will be the big loser.

At a press conference this morning receivers Brendan Gibson and Michael Stiassny of KordaMentha said they had been appointed by MediaWorks’ senior lenders to manage a transition in ownership.

Gibson said senior lenders – owed around $400m – were forming a new company and intended to retain all current staff.

“All the 1400 employees will keep their jobs. We’ll be moving to transfer their contracts at an appropriate time,” Gibson said.

Contracts and payments to suppliers would also be met, and current broadcast programming would be unaffected, the receivers said.

For now, no job losses. But hard to think there will not be some down the road as the receivers cut costs to the bone.

The fate of Mediaworks is perhaps a good comparative lesson for non-commercial broadcasters that are taxpayer funded. They’ve been whining about a funding freeze, while their commercial counterparts would sell their right arm to be able to have stable revenue.

BSA rejects Labour’s complaint on all grounds

October 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has just released its decision on their complaints against the PM hosting a non-political hour of talkback on Radio Live.

They have rejected Labour’s complaint on every ground argued, and their conclusion was:

Our opinion therefore is that even if this programme were held to be an election programme, which we do not consider it was, it would not have breached any of the standards raised by the complainant.

So the BSA has said that in their view it was not an election programme, but even if it was it breached no standard. This suggests that the Electoral Commission are unlikely to find it was an election programme also, unless they radically depart from the BSA’s reasonings.

The real winner in all of this is Mediaworks. They have a tiny listenership, and if Labour had not whined about the one hour show, would have passed without much notice. But thanks to their complaints Mediaworks and Radio Live have had two weeks of publicity about it.

The decision is embedded below.

Radio Works 14 Oct

Small on mediaworks

April 22nd, 2011 at 9:06 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes in in the Dom Post:

I come to defend Steven Joyce, not to bury him. In the fracas over the Government’s decision to let radio companies pay for their licences over five years, rather than pay $96 million up front, he has taken more than his fair share of unfair criticism.

Oh dear. I expect Vernon will now be pilloried on certain left wing blogs.

Suggestions that Mr Joyce, the communications and information technology minister, had some sort of conflict of interest in helping out the Brent Impey-led company (that Mr Joyce established) survives only till you know that Mr Joyce and Mr Impey are . . . errr . . . not close.

Mr Impey, with Canwest, led a successful “unfriendly takeover” of MediaWorks in 2001- that is, one bitterly opposed by Mr Joyce.

I was unaware of this, and not seen this in any other media. It is a good story that adds new facts to an issue.

The minister initially opposed any deal with the commercial radio sector. To protect himself further, he also sought advice from the Cabinet Office and was told he did not have a conflict of interest. It might have been wiser politically for him to step aside anyway, but that is miles away from any wrongdoing.

Those who have never actually worked in business (like most Labour MPs) have no real idea of what does and does not constitute a conflict of interest. They think that any affiliation or association what-so-ever means you must recuse yourself. This is not so. This would see the Minister of Finance unable to own a home, or the Minister of Agriculture unable to be a farmer.

Of course, it fits Labour’s narrative of a Government pandering to the few not the many, feathering the nest of its rich mates and acting as lobby-fodder for business.

But is Labour saying it wants a hands-off approach to business, whether or not that involves job losses?

WE SHALL never know what would have happened had MediaWorks been denied the payment relief and asked to stump up the full $42m at the end of 2009 – as advertising rates were falling, the economic outlook was bleak and banks were ultra-cautious about lending.

If one or more major media companies had failed, more than 1000 jobs could have been on the line. …

Mr Joyce is also blunt about the political fallout if the Government had said “get stuffed” and one of the big companies had collapsed. Once it was known the Government had rejected a deal at commercial interest rates with all the frequencies held as collateral, ministers would have been pilloried as hard-hearted, far-right, hands-off ideologues.

Is there a single person who doesn’t think Labour wouldn’t have done exactly what Vernon writes above, and lashed the Government for destroying jobs if it had refused the deferred payment scheme, and a major broadcaster collapsed?

The great Mediaworks beatup

March 10th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald ran a story yesterday headlined “Your $43m lifeline to TV3 owner: and said:

The Government has thrown a lifeline to ailing private media company MediaWorks, which owns TV3, Four, and about half New Zealand’s commercial radio stations.

MediaWorks’ latest accounts show it has essentially received a $43.3 million loan from the Crown to enable it to renew its radio broadcasting licences for the next 20 years.

This got copied all over the place with people aghast that the Government had lent MediaWorks $43m in some secret deal.

However there was no loan and no secret.

In October 2009 (18 months ago) the Government announced:

“The Government recognises that some licensees may have difficulty paying the one-off lump-sum renewal payments for their 20 year spectrum licenses next year.”

Cabinet has agreed to offer an alternative payment option to the radio broadcasters, provided any change is revenue-neutral to the Crown. 

This will allow a series of not more than five annual payments incorporating interest at 9.5 percent, plus inflation. 

So in reality it is a simple deferred payment option – broadcasters had the choice of paying for a 20 year licence in one lump sum, or spreading it over five years at a higher cost. This is no different to what often happen in the commercial world – you can spread payments out but pay more for them.

It’s not a lifeline, and it is not a loan. It is a liability but that is a different thing. If at balance date I have not paid a bill, I have a liability my creditor but that does not mean they have lent me money.

And finally the taxpayer made money from Mediaworks with the deferred payment. The interest rate is 11.2% and the government 6% on its debt, so the Government makes a net 5.2% from Mediaworks.

Sadly far too many will have just read the original story, and will remain convinced that the Government bailed out Mediaworks with a loan.

UPDATE: I notice the original story was front page and the story the next day clarifying things was very small and obscure.