Prime Minister John Key says he does not believe the Government will be overly affected by MediaWorks going into receivership, despite disputes about its tax liabilities.

Mr Key said he was aware that there was a dispute but had not yet received full advice on a potential $22 million tax liability the company was disputing with Inland Revenue.

"In a generic sense, tax always ranks very highly; it's a highly secured creditor, so it will probably be okay but I haven't had any advice.

"I know there's a disputed position but my understanding is the Government's exposure to MediaWorks is reasonably limited, in areas like licences and the likes," Mr Key said.


NZ First leader Winston Peters said the Government had already had to bail out MediaWorks once by giving them an extension to pay their licence fees. "This soft 'technical' receivership and financial restructuring of MediaWorks will cost taxpayers millions in unpaid taxes and once again show that New Zealand is at the mercy of foreign financiers."

Mr Key said the Government was not forewarned about the receivership so had not yet worked through any television and radio licensing issues.