mattwnz: $12 million though is just what they say it is costing, which I presume is partly paying wages, and the rest could be for content. But with wages at least, that money then gets recycled through the economy, and the gov get much back in taxes anyway. But I am sure it could be done cheaper, as they could go through a competitive tender process to manage it. By default TVNZ got to manage TVNZ 7
We are paying millions though in taxes to NZ on air, which goes to fund local content, which could also be seen as a luxury, and we are also paying millions for Maori TV.
Perhaps NZ can't afford to fund both Maori TV and 7, but perhaps combining them could be an idea.
If TVNZ7 was going to be profitable both Mediaworks and Sky would be lining up to take it off TVNZ's hands or creating an alternative. You probably could do it cheaper than $12m but would it be worth it? Either way that part of the TVNZ accounts is going to be red at the end of the year.
Personally I'd be in favour of cutting funding to Maori TV as well, but politically it would never happen. Combining the two could work, but I doubt the Maori party or Hone would be happy.