• Maurice Williamson

The recent Court of Appeal decision upholding the legality of the Public Broadcasting Fee ends a long period of uncertainty for the public and NZ On Air.

"Although the Government has decided to abolish the fee from July 1 2000, people who own or use a television set have an ongoing liability to pay the fee up to that date.

"The Court's decision upholds the right of NZ On Air to collect the fee and should remove any confusion that has been felt by fee-payers as a result of the court action."

As part of the Budget package, the Government announced that collection of the fee would be phased out over the period July 1 1999 to June 30 2000. Fees must now be paid from the date of the payer's last invoice up until the end of June 2000, before NZ On Air will be funded entirely from taxation.

"Because the fee is paid in advance and a number of people would have already paid for the following year, it would have been unfair for us to scrap the fee immediately," said Mr Williamson.