John Howard hit the nail on the head last week when he said politics was governed by "remorseless arithmetic" – and it's not alone. There's also a fair bit of remorseless arithmetic going on at Channel Nine. According to one former Nine staffer, the budget for flagship program A Current Affair is now about 25% less than it was just six years ago – even though the show is locked in a bloody ratings battle with Today Tonight.

According to staffers the result is a workplace of underpaid, under-resourced and overworked employees. Add to the mix that for the first time in history ACA is up against a very formidable opposing show being run by Peter Meakin, plus a recent ad-revenue drop expected to further reduce budgets, and you've got a pretty ugly equation.

Nine staffers say the Nine business model, which aims at 5-10% profit increases year-on-year is no longer achievable and the network needs to invest in people and facilities or risk further walk outs. But it ain't going to happen – David Gyngell quit, in part, because his plans to keep good people and upgrade facilities were stymied.

Meanwhile at A Current Affair under David Hurley staff are walking out the door. Here's an incomplete list of recent ACA departures sent in by a a staffer who says there are four more to quit soon and it's "hell on earth" there.

Helen Kapalos
to Channel 10.
Emma Albericito ABC
Simon Hobbs, producer Channel Ten
Paul Barry Quit
Jane Hanson Quit
Chris Hill Quit
Ray Martin, host. Special Projects
Mike Munro, host. Nine news
Gia Dwyer Quit
Dan Keens Munro, producer London Bureau
Steve Barrett Quit
Richard Lenerduzzi, supervising producer NSW Political Advisor
Scott Bevan Quit
Hugh Nailon, producer 60 Minutes
Fiona McKenzie, producer. Quit
Penny Robinson, producer Beyond 2000
Matthew Brown, sound engineer. Quit
Georgina Matthew, researcher Gold Coast News
Lyndal Burke, manager Special Projects
Joanna Townsend, producer Business Sunday
Glenn Connolly, journalist Today Tonight
Mimi Kwa, journalist SBS News
Campbell Munro, senior cameraman Freelance
Nick Colkoun, producer Big Brother
Brad Gustafen, researcher Brisbane Extra
Ruth O'Toole, researcher. Quit
Sonya Madigan, journalist News
Darren McDonald, cameraman Nine news
Andrea Steere, researcher. Quit
Paul Bowen, cameraman News