Cutting off the nose to spite the face

On the 1st of May, the Shanghai World Expo opens. NZ T&E describes it as:

The World Expo to be held in Shanghai, China in 2010 will be the biggest in world history. During the six months the Expo will be open – 1 May to 31 October 2010 – it is expected to draw 70 million visitors.

This is a major economic and business opportunity, hence the large New Zealand pavilion that will be there.

No Radio NZ has a freeze on international travel, so can’t send someone to cover it. However I understand that one of their staff – Chris Laidlaw – was so keen to cover it (due to his interest and links in this area) that he persuaded NZ T&E that it made sense for them to fund his attendance. They even agreed to guarantee in writing his editorial independence – he won’t be forced to only broadcast good stuff.

Sounds like a sensible win-win. However Radio NZ management have vetoed it. They say it compromises their commercial neutrality to accept funding from NZ T&E.

Now I ask myself – who funds Radio NZ? The taxpayer! Who funds NZ T&E? Also the taxpayer! So how exactly is this being compromised?

So let us be very clear about this. The policy of Radio NZ is that it is wrong for Radio NZ staff to fly to Shanghai, funded by the NZ taxpayer through NZ T&E.

However it is fine for Radio NZ staff to fly to Iran, funded by the Iranian Government.

Madness I say.

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