NZ on Air turns down funding for Waatea 5th Estate – back to the same bullshit current affairs we always get



After one hell of a 7 month season where we put together an amazing show each weeknight at 7pm, Waatea 5th Estate has been turned down by NZ on Air for funding.

I want to thank Willie Jackson and the team at Waatea who managed to put together an amazing current affairs show each night that managed to out trend Story and Seven Sharp each week on Twitter and generated a huge audience of NZers who wanted intelligent current affairs and not the mindless pap served up on TVNZ and TV3.

Waatea 5th Estate did more public service broadcasting in its 7 months on air than Story and Seven Sharp combined.

It is depressing to think that we will see a 2017 election with the same current affairs gatekeepers doing the same idiocy dressed up as public debate.



  1. Awww shit what a bummer. W5E was extremely watchable, total TVNZ7 material. It’s pathetic that they broadcast delayed repeats of an hour earlier (!!!!) but the content is utter rubbish. Commiserations.

    This is why broadcast is dead.

  2. … meanwhile there’ll be someone who’ll be dreaming up something like a nude cooking show which will get funding.

  3. Who’s surprised?
    Thanks for some lively and informative comment.
    Time for TDB readers and contributors to step up and give a little if they believe in the product.
    Someone want to set one up?

  4. Hey Martin,

    That is a real shame I enjoyed watching the show.

    Is there any chance of crowd funding the show ,prehaps doing it once or twice a week?

    Or if that is not a possibility could a plan could be worked out to have the show running in the lead up to the election maybe start around 5 weeks out?

    It would great to have Waatea 5th Estate around for the 2017 general election.

  5. Martyn i am pissed off but not surprised that you did not get funding.

    Waatea does not fit what NZ On Air thinks is what we should be watching but at least give us the fucking choice to make that decision for ourselves.

    Bomber if i had serious money i would give you enough to at least be on air next year and build a serious audience so that kiwis can be informed and told the truth and even entertained, you have got some great one liners.

    I guess unless a donor steps forward to help then yeah we will not have Waatea as an option.

    The show was a great anti depressant even though the stories were often sobering such as the treatment of our fellow polynesian and Maori New Zealanders.

    I miss it a lot and i feel a lot more engaged and aware of the issues in our country thanks to you and the team.

    Dont give up.

    Napoleon once said that every General should carry a baton in his knapsack.

    I believe that Waatea was that baton for truth.

  6. Waatea 5th Estate was compulsory viewing in our house. It was a great programme that genuinely debated issues that matter to NZers. Instead we will continue to be served more superficial pap on the other channels. Obviously the masters of the spin doctors that create and distribute pro National Party propaganda are threatened by any semblance of an independent current affairs programme. The NZ on Air board wouldn’t happen to be formed from National Party appointees would it?

  7. “NZers who wanted intelligent current affairs and not the mindless pap served up on TVNZ and TV3.” Perhaps it’s because you’re the Dunning-Kruger effect personified….

    • Hey troll, your attempt to induce learned helplessness in your political opponents has been noted. Crawl back to your Crosby-Textor masters, and tell them that their time is nearly up.

  8. Will waatea be able to do the same this coming year ?
    If not why can’t a special fund be set up for it which we can donate to? I’m up for $50 for starters. It was the only real current affairs show on air this year and we need to ensure it survives – especially so in election year.

    • I agree, I am sure if people are willing to step up and donate a small amount something could be done.

      It seems to me the mainstream media is only getting worse and for those of us who want news with more substance we might need to work together to make it ourselves.

      Modern technology these days allows us the chance to go out there and do it, you only need to see some of you-tube channels to see what can be done.

      A great example is the The Young Turks Network. I am sure with some planning and some volunteers something could be ready for the 2017 election

  9. No surprise. The system protects its own and ignores/attacks truth-tellers. In doing do it guarantees its own future demise.

  10. My daughter has just completed postgraduate studies in media and sociology. She is wordsmith and politically aware with an ambition of getting into journalism. Unfortunately she is totally disillusioned about participating in what is now such a soulless, shallow and questionable industry. Therein lays the future of our social/political engagement. Left to a world of tweets and glib, fractious and shallow social media ‘comments’ designed to titillate and generate one key responses rather than to inform. Our generation has left a legacy that is thoughtless, disingenuous and selfish. It can sit back with gin in hand comfortable in its passive, no brainer, property generated wealth with underserved satisfaction as it actively avoids the frightened gaze of future generations.

    • [Comment deleted. Stephen, welcome to the Daily Blog. We encourage people to contribute their views, but we also expect a degree of courtesy. Look on it as being a guest in someone’s home. Feel free to re-post your comment, but without the needless ad hominem against the host of waatea. – ScarletMod]

  11. Sorry to hear your funding stopped. You did a fine job Martyn and gang and contributed to a higher standard of journalism ; great interviews and programs. We were regular watchers.

    NZ on Air just made a horrific mistake and the overall quality of journalism and good informative and educational TV shows is slowly becoming extinct.

    Any creative funding source ideas and /or sponsorship or wealthy folks willing to keep a good thing going ? If I could, I would.

  12. It is depressing that Waatea 5th Estate didn’t get funding but then NZ on Air are no longer interesting in ‘public’ funding just as the current government isn’t interested in ‘public’ anything.

    NZ on Air demand private contribution before considering funding, which completely betrays the idea of public broadcasting. This is how that one has gone down so for Waatea 5th Estate to continue it must become the Warehouse 5th Estate…

  13. Face TV Channel 083 on the Sky network proudly produced and supported this venture – Bomber, Claudette and Willie worked hard to created a viable news option. A sad day indeed. But if there was a enough “give a little” support from like minded people or organisations with a desire to have a voice – this can still happen – make yourself known – NZ needs you.

  14. Stands to reason, doesn’t it? I mean, NZONAIR did fund “The GC”.

    The formula is simple, the more crap, the more money you’ll get.

    • The GC!! LOL!!

      There you go, people. Host Waatea 5th Estate with scantily clad women and buffed, shirtless young males, and NZ on Air will throw as much money at Waatea as you want!!

  15. There has been plenty of money for Mike Hosking and Paul Henry, it seems, but there is none for a better alternative forum presented by progressives.

    We can see, bias is the rule in the system we have, same as with so called office holders in government departments, with our so called “watchdogs” and what else we have.

    The dictatorship is working.

    • There is always plenty of money for their mates who advocate for them and their polices while doing their job on both radio and TV. BLinglish is just more of the same old is that really what NZers want somehow I don’t think so. I think the gnats days are numbered people are sick and tired of them and there half truths. We now have them saying we have poverty and mentioning the word social services really they ignored this for 8 years.

    • Love them or hate them those guys have personality – half the audience love them and half hate them – but they watch them.
      If your “progressives had personality and charisma they would draw an audience to be reckoned with, but they don’t.
      That’s the way it works so no point bitching about it.

  16. So sorry to hear this, as it was our regular “must watch” every weeknight! Took this household a very long time to get over not having it available any longer.

  17. I echo the suggestion to try crowdfunding. I know from my own failed attempts that it’s not a sure bet, and that it takes more work to run a successful crowdfunding campaign than people realise too. I recognise too that making television, even a live chat show, is more expensive than people realise. But if everyone who appreciated what the show offered chucked in whatever modest amount they can afford (I’m on a benefit but I’d still chuck in $10), Bernie fundraising style, I reckon there’s at least a chance it could work.

    I would recommend PledgeMe as the platform, and the all-or-nothing style of crowdfunding. That way, if you don’t hit the minimum budget you need to do the job properly, everyone gets their money back, and you won’t be expected to do the job with inadequate funding. Permaculture educator Robina McCurdy has run a couple of successful crowdfunding campaigns for the first couple of installments of her local food documentaries, so that suggests there is a willingness to support independent video projects that challenge establishment thinking.

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

    • This sounds good, I’d be happy to contribute, Waatea was compulsory
      in our house too despite the initial grumbles from the kids. Is
      there an appeals process whereby nz on air could be flooded with
      complaints and the decision challenged in the public arena?

  18. Sorry to hear that, Martyn. Take solace in the fact that the No Zealand MSM are going to look like total ^*%*s next year as they and their polls totally misread the political landscape and end up with shit on their faces 🙂

  19. Oh no, this is a disaster, was relying on Waatea for election. NZ on Air are bastards!! The only reason they would thumb down an unbiased politically informative show like Waatea 5th Estate, is to prevent New Zealanders from getting properly informed, particularly during the election year, where the Nats are on the back foot. “The same current affairs gatekeepers” are National party sycophantic shills and the powers that be don’t want that compromised with the competition that Waatea would bring.

    When the nats get kicked to the curb, the new government must take steps to clean up national’s corrupted media and reintroduce more independent broadcasting and proper funding. Get rid of the National party people that have been appointed to top positions in our state broadcasters, in the last 8 years NZers have had rammed down their throats, a sickening diet of putrid national party propaganda, time to cleanse the key dictatorship out of the system.

  20. US Hedgefund Oaktree that owns the majority of MediaWorks that axed John Campbell, just got over 1.7 million to show Jono and Ben comedy on prime time.

    Creative NZ on Air should actually start to rebrand to Bureaucrat Global on Air to better describe their propoganda charter moulded by the Natz.

  21. A campaign promise I want to hear from Labour/ Greens; separating the media funding pools for light entertainment and serious journalism. I enjoy Jono and Ben and I don’t have a problem with public funding for locally produced entertainment shows, but they shouldn’t be in competition with a show light Waatea 5th Estate for the same pool of public money.

    Obviously, for-profit companies going for the entertainment funding should stump us some of their own money (75%?), while the journalism fund should cover 100% of the costs of the projects they fund. Also, the journalism fund should allow groups to write one gant for multi-year funding (eg 5 years or 10 years) if they meet strict public interest criteria.

  22. Hello Martyn,
    I’m disappointed, no … disgusted …, in the personnel at NZ On Air who have deemed WE5 to be unworthy of public funding. I suspect that these people have forgotten that they are civil servants paid by society to serve society for the greater public good, and not for their own facile inclinations. Certainly, W5E showed itself to be of commendable civic excellence in the public debate of the common good – case by case – in the arguing, weighing and judging of alternatives. I, for one, was depending on WE5’s coverage of the next election in aid of my being an informed voter and worthy citizen – to this end, of all current political news services, only Radio NZ stands up (and barely so, itself being underfunded and politically interfered with).
    Is there anything I can do to help you and W5E, Martyn?

  23. Happy to contribute.
    If anyone from NZ on Air is reading these comments – you are doing a disservice to your fellow countrymen/women by not funding such a fantastic and informative news show. Shame on you.

  24. I hear in the UK they still pay fees for public broadcasting, and as much as it may have flaws, they still have a functioning BBC, they also have something very similar, if not better in Germany, why can we not get this sort of system back?

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