The Coalition for Better Broadcasting (CBB) welcomes the Labour Party’s new media policy and the commitment of an additional $38m a year to an expanded RNZ and NZ On Air.
It is significant that Labour’s policy has recognised that public service principles remain essential in the digital media environment. Although many New Zealanders appreciate the benefits of ultra-fast broadband and video on demand services, it is vital that we retain properly funded public media services, in-depth news and current affairs, and a full range of quality local content.
Labour’s policy will enable RNZ+ to become the principal platform-neutral public service provider for serving the media needs of New Zealanders as citizens.
CBB Chair, Dr. Peter Thompson said, “By expanding its radio and online services to include commercial free television, RNZ+ will become the multi-platform public service operator we need for the digital future. Labour’s policy will redress the current government’s short-sighted decision to shutdown TVNZ 7. Crucially, this is not a return to the confusing dual commercial/public remit of the TVNZ Charter.
“Public service is already in RNZ’s DNA and it is already developing a multi-platform presence. This policy will help ensure RNZ can continue its recent success in extending its services to all New Zealanders”
Labour has proposed a new Public Media Funding Commission to oversee the disbursement of public media funds and insulate public funding decisions from political influence. The CBB welcomes the additional funding as well as the mechanism for ensuring funding levels are adequate.
Mr Thompson added, “the additional $38m will make a massive difference to both RNZ and NZ On Air. The new Public Media Funding Commission will help insulate public service media funding from both commercial and political pressure, and ensure that a full range of local content – including in-depth news and children’s programming – is made available to everyone. It will also help minimise political disputes over the adequacy of funding for RNZ, which has been chronically under-funded since 2007.”