Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024
melissa lee speaking

Dismissed minister Melissa Lee has admitted to potential tardiness in response to the recent wave of journalism job cuts during her tenure as the Government’s media portfolio holder.

Following her removal from the role by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, who cited the need for more senior ministerial oversight in the media sector, Lee finds herself outside the Cabinet room, replaced by Paul Goldsmith.

Reflecting on her dismissal, Lee acknowledged the rapid pace of changes in the media landscape, with the closure of Newshub and cutbacks at TVNZ creating immense pressure for a sustainable journalism plan. Despite her efforts to bring forth proposals, she encountered challenges in getting them to Cabinet in time.

Lee expressed her focus on delivering in her remaining portfolios, acknowledging that while changes were needed in the media sector, they unfolded too swiftly for effective response. She conceded, “Perhaps I was a little slow, but what I can say is I tried my very best, and this decision has been made, and I respect the Prime Minister’s decision.”

Luxon’s decision to remove Lee from Cabinet was based on workload considerations, leaving open the possibility of her return in the future. Despite this setback, Lee remains open to the prospect of resuming her role as media minister someday.

Reacting to Lee’s comments, Labour leader Chris Hipkins noted that the challenges facing the media sector had been apparent for years, suggesting that Lee had not been attentive to these issues during her tenure. He highlighted ongoing efforts by previous governments to address media challenges, such as considerations around the RNZ-TVNZ merger.

In the face of Lee’s admission and ongoing media challenges, the conversation around sustainable journalism and government intervention continues to evolve, with the hopes of finding viable solutions for the industry’s future.

TIN Bureau

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