Research shows Kiwis want more public media – Better Public Media


Research commissioned by Better Public Media Trust has revealed an overwhelming response to suggested government funding options for public media.

The research was conducted by Research New Zealand as part of an online omnibus survey in late October with a nationally representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders, 18 years and over.

Almost two thirds of respondents support ad-free weekends on TV One, with only 9% opposed. And a significant majority, 60% support making TV One completely non-commercial, with just 11% opposed.

The research offered a range of improvements for public media funding and policy. It found respondents were more likely to approve than disapprove, with disapprovals to various options never rising above 25%.

The most popular options are to turn TV One into an ad-free channel and website, remove advertising, and to tax big tech companies like Facebook and Google to support New Zealand programmes and media.

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Less popular were options to expand RNZ to include an ad-free television channel (RNZ+), or to amalgamate TV One, TV2, RNZ and Māori Television into a large ad-free broadcaster and media outlet. Although approval ratings for both these options were still significantly higher than disapprovals.

“The Minister has signalled that an announcement on media policy will be coming before the end of the year, and we at Better Public Media thought it was about time someone asked the public what they want from their government,” said BPM Director Myles Thomas.

“The response was an overwhelming ‘yes please!’ with some options recording huge support. Removing advertising from TV One is very favourable, even more so on weekends, and there is strong support to decommercialise the whole of TVNZ.”

“And it seems that most people favour taxing the big tech companies like Facebook and Google with proceeds to go to funding New Zealand media,” he said.

“New Zealand has the most commercial media in the western world. That means Kiwis rely on commercial media to fulfil democratic roles such as reporting on local body politics, and cultural roles such as reflecting the many aspects of Kiwi culture. But commercial media is struggling to stay afloat, let alone take on anything that might not be profitable,” Thomas said.

“The Better Public Media Trust believes the New Zealand government has delayed its approach to public media for too long. We hope this research will help motivate the Minister and his Cabinet to be bold with media and broadcasting policy. This research shows that New Zealanders want it.”

The research also included a question about viewing habits, and found the public are most likely to watch free-to-air TV every day. This backs up in-depth researchwith similar findings.

“While their may be a trend to online viewing, that trend seems to be slowing down, and there’s no guarantee that it will continue across all sectors of New Zealand,” Thomas said.

“Those watching television every day are more likely to be older and lower income people, which suggests that the digital divide should be a significant factor in government policy.”

Demographic Details

Digging into the detail shows little difference across age groups and income levels, with slightly more approval for ad-free TV One options from older audiences, and slightly higher approval for an online option from younger audiences.

The TV Viewing Frequency responses showed larger differences between different groups with those who watch free-to-air TV less than once a month, more likely to be neutral on all the proposals.

All the data is available on the Better Public Media website –


  1. Media acess to the public is concerning me. Particularly to individuals’ thoughts and ideas and discussion and contention and revision of such. I noticed this feature prominently missing in this invitation on the Nelson Mail (Fairfax) website.
    How do I send a letter to The Nelson Mail?
    We welcome your thoughts regarding a story that ran in the Nelson Mail, or even an event you experienced that you would like to discuss. There are two ways to submit your letter:
    By mail: Letters to the Editor, The Nelson Mail, PO Box 244 Nelson 7040.

    Notice that the invitation is around published Nelson Mail content, or some experience, not about your
    ideas and opinions about matters of the past, or that have happened to others, or that could happen in the future. It is very prescriptive and limiting; discouraging for exploratory or imaginative thought. How can Rip van Winkles awake and see how things are for others as well as realise their own situation, compare it to past visions, analysing differences and learning why these occurred, and think and plan for a different future not yet envisaged by the Nelson Mail, and not experienced by oneself or anyone you know?

    This is what is needed in Public Media. A well-run, moderated site for ideas and comment of citizens. RadioNZ tried to do this but were stymied by a slow uptake and I think the too frequent ravings of devotees so persistent in advancing their particular narrow obsession that they smother the site.

  2. Good effort BPM well stated we need a voice for us to speak about our community issues before the election so the country and government hear our concerns.

    Our article went into the ‘Scoop’ press so far this week, but we have now copied it here to you now so please present our press release with the issues to the Minister on CEAC’s behalf of HB/Gisborne communities need to have our voice presented to a nation wide TV channel like another style of TV7 or RNZ+ please. From the Secretary. CEAC.

    CEAC – “Labour bring us public media platform voice”
    Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 11:06 am
    Press Release: Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre

    Massey University Senior lecturer Steve Elers warns readers: – “Are we prepared to risk our fourth largest export earner, $5b and 50,000 jobs, for the sake of ‘free speech’ in the form of posters?”

    Our CEAC as an NGO response is; – Well Mr Elers; if the ‘universities’ are ‘restricting and banning out free speech rights’ we (the public as voters) desperately need the Labour Government to ‘honour their promise made to us during pre/post 2017 election to setup the voice for us as a free speech public TV channel access platform.

    As of now in November 2019, (two years into the Labour coalition) have done virtually nothing to give us the community a voice they promised us in 2017.

    The labour coalition needs to give us our public voice for all our free speech as we in the province’s, particularly like HB/Gisborne who still get no voice to get our own concerns about our community’s ‘lack of regional rail transport”.

    These are strongly important issues now that should be widely mentioned on National media, now sice the Climate change issue is high on the public agenda.

    This travesty to our loss of rail service began after our rail was damaged by the last National Government under Key/Joyce administration.

    These Ministers sacked 75 ‘rail track staff’ in 2011 and spent the money saved to spend on Auckland rail and the consequence of the lack of staff to maintain the rail network contributed to our own regional rail service being damaged and forced the closure of our rail.


    Thursday, 14 February 2013, 1:35 pm

    Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party

    Phil Twyford

    Transport Spokesperson

    14 February 2013

    “KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out

    KiwiRail has admitted that its failure to maintain old and damaged culverts was behind the wash out that closed the Gisborne-Napier line, while cuts to its maintenance budget are putting the network at further risk,” Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

    Ever since 2012 after the travesty our community has been ‘deliberately continuously snubbed by the mainstream media’ in our role in attempting to exposure this “political scandal ever since 2012”.

    This rail service was on the cusp of finally providing sustainable increased freight services with a promise given in providing more wagons/locomotives/customers at the time and was reported by Kiwi Rail regional Manager Kim Santos at the time in an article in the Dominion Post entitled “At risk rail can’t cope”

    The only conclusion that was reached in the east coast community at the time was this was a ‘planned execution of a rail service’, after the track got washed out by blocked drains, after a rain storm.

    This tragic loss and deliberate cutting of track staff by government then was never covered afterwards by the media about this deliberately sabotaged destruction from our publicly owned rail network by the National Government under the Key/Joyce ministers in 2011.

    So Labour wake up and give our provinces a “TV media voice now” a you had promised us all when we voted for you!!!!!

    Jacinda – “lets do this”

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