Steven Joyce clarifies $43.3m MediaWorks debt

Steven Joyce has clarified the situation regarding MediaWorks and the $43.3 million debt is has to the Government.

MediaWorks records showed the company owes the Government $43.3m for the renewal of its radio broadcasting licences but Joyce says no payment had been made to the company.

The Telecommunications Minister said the debt was owed under a 2009 scheme that allowed broadcasters to defer licence payments.

“The reality is that under the scheme they have a debt to the Crown because they haven’t paid in full for their frequencies,” Mr Joyce told NZPA. 

“They have to present it as a debt because it is a debt they owe the Crown, so how they do that is between them and their accountants. 

“All I can tell you is that the Crown has not advanced any cash to MediaWorks at all, that the Crown has offered a deferred payment option to all of the frequency holders who were due to renew at that time, which involved them paying interest and getting in their payments over five years.” 

Source: 3 News

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Brad
  • regan

    Funnily enough, in response, we recieved the following by email just now.

    Auckland, 3 March 2011
    – The Rhema Broadcasting Group (RBG) paid the Government over $6
    million yesterday to renew the majority of its commercial radio
    frequency licences for the next 20 years, retaining all existing
    coverage. 

    Rhema
    is a not-for-profit charity broadcaster, so funds to pay for the
    licences came from thousands of New Zealand listeners in the form of
    donations and significant interest-free loans.

    John
    Fabrin, RBG CEO says, “The response to the 2030 Vision fundraising
    project has been tremendous.  Thank you to everyone who has helped renew
    our radio licences, whether financially or through prayer or advocacy.
    It is wonderful that we have been able to secure the right to have
    Christian radio freely available throughout New Zealand not only for
    this generation, but also for the next.”

    RBG
    also accepted an offer from the Crown to convert some of its commercial
    licences to non-commercial licences.  While this lost some radio
    flexibility, it enabled RBG to secure all licences at a slightly cheaper
    cost.  Broadcasts will not be affected by this conversion as RBG
    already operates a mix of commercial and non-commercial licences.
     

    “This
    once-in-a-generation investment is of huge importance to not only the
    Christian community but also for the people of New Zealand. Tens of
    thousands of people benefit from RBG broadcasts every day.  Many of them
    see their lives changed for good by the messages of faith, hope and
    love that RBG is able to provide through its home-based media mission,”
    says Fabrin.

    With
    the licences secured, RBG is committed to continuing its 24 hour, 7 day
    a week Christian radio coverage across New Zealand. 

    While the right to broadcast for the next 20 years is secure, RBG still needs to repay the interest-free loans. 

    Fabrin
    says, “We are incredibly grateful for the support that has enabled us
    to retain all RBG’s licences nationwide.  We would like to be able to
    clear the loans as soon as we can so we can focus on broadcasting
    life-changing messages to our nation.”
     

    Fabrin
    adds that it is not too late for people to help RBG reduce the amount
    of borrowed money by donating to the 2030 Vision campaign.  To do so,
    people can visit http://www.2030vision.co.nz or phone 0508 000 717.