When I worked for a venture capital funded company, one of the features of our shareholders agreement was a cap on management salaries and bonuses. My advice was that such clauses were pretty standard where a major shareholder is providing substantial funding to a company.
I can't quite see why the NZ government doesn't put such an obligation on TVNZ. Obviously the TVNZ argument for paying Holmes, and now Judy Bailey, such large salaries is that they bring in sufficient viewers, and hence advertising revenue, to pay for them. Another argument is that without the budget for much news gathering, especially overseas, the news consists largely of talking heads and we need to pay a big salary to get attractive (?) and charismatic figures to front the programmes.
Maybe NZ on Air should fund the news - they seem to have a lot of success getting music videos made for $5000 a throw - I'd watch a 30 minute, advert-free news programme with presenters at the start, rather than the peak, of their careers.