MEDIA WATCH: The best decision of Faafoi’s career – what the dream TVNZ-RNZ merger looks like


This appointment by the Broadcasting Minister is the single best thing he has done since he became Broadcasting Minister!

Former NZ First Minister Tracey Martin given reins on work to merge TVNZ and RNZ

Former New Zealand First MP and Minister Tracey Martin has been put in charge of the Government’s plans to assess a TVNZ/ RNZ merger as she “gets stuff done”.

Martin’s group will oversee how the business case, being produced by Deloitte, could be implemented in “real life”.

This comes after numerous delays in the plan to assess the viability of the creation of a new public media entity, likely a merger of TVNZ and RNZ.

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Tracey Martin is an incredible choice for this.

She is intelligent and has true vision.

She has a unique opportunity to shape NZ culture in a foundational way.


Death of Public Broadcasting TVNZ7 2012

As someone who toured the country in 2012 trying to save TVNZ7, I am an enormous supporter of public broadcasting and believe a TVNZ-RNZ merger is desperately needed to provide a counterweight to social media disinformation that is so corrosive to Democracy and give fangs to the Fourth Estates obligations to hold the powerful to account.

RNZ are incredibly elitist and without very clear expectations in terms of output will swamp everything they touch with a level of wanker that even woke Wellingtonians will gag over. No one wants to listen to radio plays about 18th century settlers falling in love with someone from the lower classes.

Likewise, TVNZ can’t help but make mindless bullshit that entertains coma patients.

My hope for Tracey Martin is that she focus only on the end content for New Zealanders and doesn’t allow TVNZ and RNZ to swallow the funding for their bullshit vanity fantasy pet projects.

Here’s my dream TVNZ-RNZ Merger

TV1 commercial free – Allow TV2 & DUKE to play adverts, but not TV1. Why should citizens have advertising rammed down their throats? Why can’t we have a station that is just there to entertain, inform and challenge?

RNZ launch a commercial free youth radio station – Adults get Concert FM and RNZ advert free, why can’t young people have shelter from commercialism?

RNZ/TVNZ launch a 24 hour news station on one of their existing Freeview+ channels – the plus 1 channels on Freeview and Sky are an obscene waste of platforms. RNZ and TVNZ are BROADCASTERS – VoD is fine, but they have enormous ability to talk to many different voices and sectors all at once and should be doing that. We need a 24 hour TV news service which could do more to keep citizens aware than anything else.

Tracey Martin could build a cultural treasure here.


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  1. it will be like saving the titanic…TVNZ lost their audiences 10 years ago, just like sky tv that is what will eventually happen to TVNZ. I’ve never listened to RNZ and neither does my70-year-old mum.

    • Oh here we go. These national party theories proved disastrous in health, housing and education and you talk like no one’s observing you trying smuggle those theories over to state broadcasters? Bitch I slap you. Stand and fight.

  2. I agree with you on a non- commercial TV1. But why not push for the whole merged operation to become non- commercial, like BBC, CBC, or ABC?
    And on RNZ, isn’t the real danger of this merger that it will become commercialized? I’m not clear why a merger would protect RNZ… seems like the opposite. I hate the ads and vapid content on TVNZ, while in contrast, RNZ, while it could be much better, is at least an actual serious public broadcaster. Compared to awful, tepid, corporate-friendly American public broadcasting, RNZ is a jewel.

    • This is my fear also, instead of fixing tvnz, which is a pile of sh*t, you will instead water down the only gold standard of news and analysis, and actual nz content ( unlike fake tvnz “nz content’ ) in this country.
      This includes the actual Media Watch, which is brilliant, on RNZ. Not Bradbury’s 5 minute mind dump version as on display here.
      Did you actually talk to any senior RNZ journalists Martin? Because they are leaving in droves, the National party appointees, losers from commercial radio, and the tvnz imports, are already poisoning the well.
      What makes RNZ RNZ is it’s culture of co operation and sharing, professionalism and not grand standing or competing, getting the f’n ego out of the way, something tv celeb pseudo journalists don’t get, and ethical approach to news and cultural stories. This is being eroded by the influx of ex commercial dickwad radio and tvnz has beens infiltrating the culture there, many Nact appointees.
      Make no mistake, the end goal is to water down the only decent news source kiwis have, not improve rnz. Can’t have informed voters now can we. As for whoever “doesn’t listen and neither does my 70 year old mum”.
      Who gives a shit what your or your mum listen to, RNZ has the largest listener shipp of any radio station in the country nad has had for a very long time. So your peculiar habits are utterly irrelevant.

  3. At what stage do the NZ media completely converse in Maori? Repeating sentences in two languages is becoming more common with more words being spoken each time. Speak maori or English but don’t repeat a sentence in both, its inefficient and therefore detrimental. If you want to stop speaking English then do it, please don’t simply patronise us with posturing appeasement buzz words.

    • Some conservative principles:



      You’re comments stray from these principles.

      I can accept people who have lost faith in there parent ideologies. Hi friend.

  4. Agreed this is probably the best decision Faafoi has made, and will probably ever make.
    I guess he’s due that credit and its a shame it’s taken this long.
    It’s been a long battle and it ain’t over yet.
    PSB has gone from one extreme to another and has never really been taken seriously in NZ – at least by politicians.
    From a propaganda arm of the State apparatus in the days of the NZBC with its polished British accents to an over-managed neoliberal managerialist’s dream along with all the asset stripping and needless tiers of overpaid wankers while the people beneath actually producing content struggle.

    It’s not JUST an RNZ/TVNZ merger that’s required but I’ll be grateful for small mercies. It’s a start.

    I’m just trying to remember when the first ‘congregation of the concerned’ was that I attended in what grew into the CBB but it must be a decade and a half ago.
    I did start looking at annual reports at one stage a while back, in an effort to check out the managerial costs of running the public’s broadcasting assets, but gave up. I started adding up the CEOs and Board salaries of all the parties involved in putting content to air. Ridiculous.

    Yep, Tracey Martin is a good decision. What the hell caused that? I guess it got to the stage he realised Something.Must.Be.Done
    Now …. for the other portfolios

    • I hope Tracey Martin has a better view of public broadcasting than she demonstrated on the culling of 600,000+ overseas-published books from the National Library. She was extremely rude and dismissive of anyone who criticised the move

      • Ae. We’ll have to see I guess but there’s a better chance that Something.Must.Be.Done, and there was all that ganda from Winnie/NZ First that neo-liberalism has failed us – so I assume she’s in agreement with that.

        If Faafoi had kicked the can down the road any further, his credibility would be shot.
        It’ll be interesting to see whether the CBB or the likes of VicUni’s Thompson (and others) are considered.
        One thing’s for sure however, and it’s that NZ CAN actually afford a decent PSB service – the only thing preventing it so far has been ideology and egos not acting in the public interest (if they even know what that means).

      • Just as an aside @Marianne . Did you happen to circulate around Trentham when Phillys Stein and its mates were flogging shit off for two a penny? I understand even the member for Seatoun Heights was outraged.
        I’m in three minds about it all. Actually more like two because the promises of digitisation of content aren’t really that permanent when you consider the modes of media going out of fashion as fast as they have.
        Gorgeous tho’ darling.
        Kris F is in control (apparently), which is about as useful as a gNat ponytail puller at a Ron Brierly soiree, but possibly a little more politically correct

  5. Yes, to all of the above.
    I felt a sense of relief, optimism and surprise when I heard that he had tasked Tracey Martin with this.

    I just hope that they still know what “News” is. So much that passes for “News” is simply politics, propaganda, candy-floss non-events of someone’s tear-jerking personal experience, celebrity-anything-at-all, etc etc.

    There’s a real world out there. A planet that we’re all living on. But you wouldn’t really know it from the stuff that they give as “News” at the moment – Just brief passing headlines of some of it before the next false-bright smiley grin and gossip about whoever might capture people’s attention. And the next commercial selling some branch of insanity. Nothing whatsoever to do with the real world.

    We need more in-depth documentaries of what is actually happening, across the planet. And yes, commercial-free.

    • I watch Aljazeera on Freeview to know what’s going on outside our isolated little islands

      • Marianne Hepple: “I watch Aljazeera on Freeview…”

        Yes. Like many NZers, you realise that we here don’t get to hear much about what’s going on elsewhere.

        But beware. Al Jazeera cannot always be relied upon for disinterested reportage, in particular with regard to what’s happening in the Middle East.

        Take note of who funds it and where it’s based.

  6. I admire your optimism but don’t necessarily share it. You don’t get to your seventh decade without encountering any number of setbacks by shitheads. And sadly this excercise has shitheads written all over it.

    Yes Tracy Martin did establish herself as a singularly hard working FORMER Minister but the simple fact is she was an active member of the last government’s Handbrake Party Coalition.

    Leopards and spots etc…

    Talking of leopards and spots, the present Broadcasting Minister has made a practice of being ineffective and inept. He will suddenly become effective and “ept” because..?

    The forces of commercial exploitation are already lined up in battle order and are indeed very powerful.
    Fortunately we have a strong minded determined government…

    Oh wait.


    This excercise is going to go the way of all Government decisions, directly to neoliberal heaven (or hell!). Commercials on RNZ and Concert FM, and a complete avoidance of anything resembling political commentary/documentary if it decries neoliberalism (as it does now).

    Have you really learnt nothing about how capitalism works?

    I’m really not going to enjoy saying “I told you so” but…

    • “………she was an active member of the last government’s Handbrake Party Coalition.”

      Yep. Although it seems that now the handbrake party has gone, Labour either still isn’t firing on all cylinders or someone’s put diesel in the petrol tank.

  7. Why on Earth are there state funded broadcasters in New Zealand, a so-called free and open democracy? This seems antithetical. We know that it’s all about ruthlessly “controlling the message” (i.e. lying to the nation), but aside from this, any other reason? Can’t the Truth just be set free and, like a Lion, defend itself? Of course not.

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