Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Amy Adams: Minister of Broadcasting



We have a new Minister of Broadcasting, Amy Adams and the good news is that at last broadcasting is in the hands of a senior cabinet minister. Adams might actually influence National’s broadcasting policy and bring the advice and expertise of the relevant ministries to that decision making process

That’s a nice change from the last two Broadcasting Ministers – juniors ‘under apprenticeship’ who had little to do with writing the broadcasting policy they were responsible for. Rumour has it Jonathan Coleman wanted to save TVNZ 7 but couldn’t convince Cabinet. I almost feel sorry for him having to sell the closure of a channel he wanted to keep but he certainly wasn’t reticent at the time, coming up with all manner of misinformation to explain the inexplicable.

Back then Coleman was number 19 in the Cabinet hierarchy, Adams is number 7. If she can make the broadcasting portfolio her own she’ll get no shortage of support from within her own ranks. Many public service broadcasting supporters are National voters – here at CBB Towers we are frequently chided by our own members for being too left wing. And our recent UMR research backs this up:

  • over a third (35%) of National supporters would pay $10 a year for ad-free television
  • over a quarter (27%) of Nats think Sky and ISP’s should fund ad-free telly
  • 23% of Nats actually think the government should create a new ad-free channel!
  • These are big numbers in favour of public service broadcasting. Hundreds of thousands of National voters want public service television, and would back Adams to make changes to National’s broadcasting policies.

So what does National have on the agenda for broadcasting? It seems that this term they may get round to converging broadcasting and telecommunications regulations. This is long overdue – telecom companies, websites and internet service providers have been ‘broadcasters’ for years, but without regulation, censorship or expectation to provide local content.

The danger in rewriting the broadcasting legislation is that the government could remove all public service clauses from NZ on Air. It’s quite possible that National could make NZ on Air solely responsible for funding whatever ‘industry’ wants (reality TV) and not what audiences want it spent on (everything else).

The other big decision that Amy Adams has ahead of her is what to do with the many digital television frequencies left unused by SkyTV. Her options are pretty simple – sell them or leave them alone. The frequencies aren’t worth much but that mightn’t stop her trying to turn a buck. Either way, hopefully she’ll see the benefit of reserving a few frequencies for innovative public service television projects in the future.

There’s no guarantee that Adams will deliver policy that’s any better than the previous ministers, but I’m happy that at least she will be a Broadcasting Minister who can speak to policy that she has had a role in formulating.

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Myles Thomas – Coalition for Better Broadcasting 



  1. So now we trust the polls as they support your cause? That’s better broadcasting right there. Tv3 and tv1? Forget it, biased polls. UMR for a advocacy body? Right on!

  2. Sorry, but I think you are dreaming, Miles. “Over a third of . . . A quarter of . . . etc etc. means A MINORITY OF Nats want change.

    If the performance of Adams in her previous portfolio is anything to go by, she’ll tow the party line like a traction engine towing a dead sheep.

    That means the on-going whittling away of support for “free to air” broadcasting in favour of the big, well-monied players like Sky.

    • Erm, that’s a quarter of National voters- You’re ignoring the rest of the population (unless you think the government should only represent those who voted for it). The point is that there’s a sizable constituency within the National Party who actually do support public broadcasting.

  3. I like your optimistim Myles and yes, let’s give Ms Adams a chance to settle into her new role but I’m not holding my breath. Maybe CBB should start campaigning to turn TV One into a public service channel – if nothing else it would be a good starting point for a discussion…

  4. An idea of mine for our readers to consider in order to make themselves heard more widely. 😉

    In these days of computer assisted Blogging,DIY Book Publishing and Audio/Video Production, it is possible to start ones own Low Power FM Radio Station (LPFM) quite easily and legally. In fact it has been this way for many years in NZ. If you are under 1Watt, don’t cause intereference with commercial stations and are at least 25Km from another LPFM station,have a GURL or General User Radio License which is FREE to apply for with no yearly fees,and self-regulate your operation to the RSM guidelines, then you are legally compliant.

    Broadcasting Standards Regulations do apply however, but as we all know they are more flexible than one might think – going by what is allowed on Talk back stations these days. Eg Sean Plunkets Radio Live quip of “The hate speech of Kim Dot Com” and many other examples.

    You can purchase a stereo FM transmitter up to about 1 Watt for less than $500 USD now, thanks to chinese manufacturing. With a decent aerial you could reach out to about a 2-5 Kilometre circular radius in ideal conditions with nothing obstructing the line of sight from the aerial itself. Now here is where the real power of the internet comes in – It is quite easy technically to set up shared broadcasts between multiple LPFM stations for syndicated content by streaming it over an internet data link from your home or business connection. Much easier than you might think. Apart from the transmitter and aerial all you need is an input – this could be as simple as a discman or mp3 player,basic audio mixer and cheap microphone or as flexible as a Laptop and full playlisting and backend audio processing Software. Such software is available for free now also, and capable of near commercial broadcast quality in terms of dynamic range compression/limiting,etc. All this can be done for less than a grand in NZ dollars currently. Don’t believe me? Then peruse these links at your pleasure, and join the dots…

  5. When National Party supporters start talking about the benefits of state owned broadcasting the alarm bells start ringing. National want to create their own televised version of the Herald (basically a daily National Party newsletter) except that they want us to pay for it.

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