How to Save TVNZ + Newshub + Public Broadcasting

Democracy dies in darkness and all Melissa Lee is doing is turning off the lights.


Public Broadcasting is under attack by the Political Right because when citizens are kept stupid and angry, the Political Right win.

In terms of the TVNZ cut backs right now:

Sunday: Look, we need long form journalism and we need it on a Sunday night dammit! The problem was that Sunday always pulled its punches! Compare any story on Sunday with Bryan Bruce’s documentary last year on the cost of food. Bryan actually goes to the heart of the problem with the intelligence to analyse it, Sunday is bullshit emotional journeys, celebrity interviews,  overcoming struggles blah blah blah.  It’s current affairs for Soccer Mums. Need to keep it but total change from soft focus to hard focus.

Fair Go: It’s a classic and because TVNZ is a Broadchurch, you need something for Christian family entertainment. Doesn’t deserve the chop.

Midday News: Real blow for young journalists and the wider capacity for news.

Late News: Same as above

How come genuine news capacity and two necessary shows are getting the chop when Seven Sharp and Re:News stay???

Seven Sharp is lightweight garbage that costs a fucking arm and a leg while Re:News is the most tediously woke terrible shit you’ve read in your life.

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Last month on Re:News was an opinion piece by a non-white hairy girl who was complaining about NZ beaches where she feels self conscious.

I know, why am I reading this?

Re:News is a platform for sociological experiments in alienation seeking attention for the “I/Me” pronoun generation.

Seven Sharp on the other hand services Soccer Karens and the husbands who fund them.

What they should? 

  • They should cut journalists and producers from Sunday and deliver a far harder journalism and prove their worth for the Sunday timeslot.
  • The should cut back on Fair Go but keep it. If Helen Clarke can keep Concert FM, she should save Fair Go!
  • Dump Seven Sharp, send Jeremy to host the late news and make that a more studio based show. Send Hilary to Breakfast. Launch a new studio based 7pm current affairs panel show with hard hitting interviews on the days newsmakers.
  • Keep Late night News but with Jeremy as host
  • Dump midday news.

Studio based panel TV is far cheaper to make and there is enough talent to do that successfully in NZ week nightly.

TVs power is that it is live.

The problem with public broadcasting in NZ is that our population base has always been far too small to support advertiser broadcasting, that’s why it has always needed the State to support it.

How to Save TVNZ + Newshub + Public Broadcasting?

We need a mix of ideas:

Fund TVNZ 1 commercial free – If we can have commercial free radio, why not commercial free TV? By removing TV1 from the ratings, the advertising flow would immediately go to Newshub and allow them to stay on air. You save two birds with one stone.

NZ on Air ‘Read between the Flags’ Kiwi journalism – In a world of disinformation, we need journalism we can trust. We all get the ‘swim between the flag’ model of surf life saving, NZ on Air should be given extra funding for ‘Read between the flags’ Kiwi Journalism. This money is to ensure plurality of voice for independent media, Māori media, specific communities,  news blogs and mainstream news media who become eligible if they agree to a set of Journalistic Principles. If you do agree and sign up, you are entitled to funding and must have a Kiwi Journalism flag on your site to show you are obliged to the Journalistic Principles Code of conduct.

You would have an awareness campaign to urge NZers to ‘read between the flags’ for trusted information.

Promoting Journalism in the Pacifc to counter other influences – I think one way NZ could uniquely promote its interests into the Pacific could be via Journalism. AUT run the excellent Pacific Media Centre to promote quality Journalism throughout the Pacific. What if NZ saw the promotion of quality Journalism as a craft throughout the Pacific as a strong way to counter corruption and external influence? Scholarships, Pacific News Media websites and support of local ethical journalism, these could be the pillars of promoting corruption free politics and holding those Governments to account. Promotion of Journalistic standards throughout the Pacific could counter external influences and promote NZs strategic interests.

Māori Media – Māori TV & Māori Radio need a baseline increase rather than extra budget for collaborations because the bigger players give very little back.

The NZ population has always been too small for advertiser funded journalism, it has ALWAYS needed State support, add a broken market where social media takes all the revenue while providing none of the journalism and you have a hollowed out Fourth Estate that can’t be a watchdog to anything other than their own self interest.

Current policy is simply adding more money to Corporate News to cover the news they should be covering anyway and to fund echo chambers of elite opinion so that the Spinoff Story gets posted on RNZ who then co post it on Stuff who then co post it on newshub.

It’s the same people saying the same thing to the same echo chambers.

The last election was a warning that disinformation campaigns can wreck the trust in our system, a strong public broadcaster alongside an expanded NZ on Air journalism fund paid for via taxes on the social media currently gutting traditional journalism would be a bold vision that would seek to genuinely rebuild public broadcasting.

Unfortunately the Political Right want to keep you stupid and want to leash the fourth estate if not kill it off altogether.

We currently have  a Broadcasting Minister who has washed here hands of the media meltdowns and actively wants the free market to kill off Newshub and mutilate TVNZ.

Democracy dies in darkness and all Melissa Lee is doing is turning off the lights.



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  1. Is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic going to make people watch linear TV? I am not against public funded media but we shouldn’t support market failure either. We don’t rescue builders in financial difficulty. Builders also perform a necessary function in society. Why are (often not very good) journalists so special?

    • The bought regulators are allowing a handful of monopolistic companies to destroy most of the television and newspaper industry, and trying to demoralise the public using the same old phony arguments about “rationalisation” and “managed decline”.

      There’s no “inevitable collapse” going on over at Netflix, H.B.O. Max, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime Video. The corrupt political class simply refuse to regulate Over-The-Top broadcasters at all — who nearly all have linear broadcasts, by the way (which can never be closed, because news and sports are most valuable when they’re live). They’re letting a few predatory monopolist firms drive out all local affiliate broadcasters, and deliberately allowing local newsrooms to collapse as a result.

      • Even if you are right, the majority of people do not seem to care whether One News or News Hub die next week or June. Better they get the funeral organised because no one cares whether that is sad or not.

  2. OMFG just let broadcast television die already.

    There should be one channel that does weather and emergency broadcasts – everything else should be on the internet.

    • OMFG yea!
      – I very rarely watch terrestrial TV, therefore nobody else should be able to. Including those that can’t afford excessive cell phone plans or Netflix or whatever else.
      – I don’t go to the ballet, or the opera. Therefore nobody else should be able to.
      – I only listen to Concert FM a couple of hours a day, and usually when I’m clutching my pearls or fondling my crystals, and when I’m not I always try to get down with the kids and listen to student radio.
      – I very rarely listen to Access Radio OR any of those other specialist FTA bubbles like Torana or Coast. Therefore nobody else should be able to. Who needs diversity, or kulcha other than what I think it should be anyway?
      They all should get with the programme aye!
      It’s not right that there are people that might or could be getting more than me.

      Nah!. If we (“us”) do have to have terrestrial broadcast radio and tv, it really needs to be multiple stations pumping out the same or similar playlists and trying to sell me stuff and things they tell me I really really want.

      It’s not as if any of our telecom providers have ‘plans’ worse than those that can be found in 3rd World countries, and it’s not as if we’ve been told the same thing about broadcasting we had when we had a population of 2 million as we’re being told tolday aye.

      • Even if you are right, the majority of people do not seem to care whether One News or News Hub die next week or June. Better they get the funeral organised because no one cares whether that is sad or not.

      • Good one oncewastim – tongue in cheek. Trying to keep NZ/AO going to the extent that should be the norm, but now seems to be unachievable is hard work. There was an invisible war that came after WW2 and the others that we had after World Peace which just gradually engulfed things we thought were certainties till we now travel on an eroding rocky road, apparently one-way, which can’t be fixed as the money is going into an undersea tunnel that will come out in Australia or that’s the plan that has been modelled for five? years but may be dropped after paying out vast sums on designs planning and costing.

      • Once we lose our fourth estate then we lose a bit of protections. Journalism ends up like something like Julian Assange. We lose critical mass and public interest broadcasting becomes fractured into petty squabbles, like farming, clout chasing.

  3. TV 1 one should become a news and current affairs channel.The rest of the time should be used to show natural history type shows like our planet and such .They could be used to inform us on climate change and new forms of energy that the oil and gas lobby dont want us to know about .The destruction of the Ammazon for logs and mining along with agriculture would be another thing to hilite along with the needless destruction of whole countries by war .Then NZrs would be properly informed not just being told what big money and their pupets want us to hear .Dump breakfast ,those juvenile people piss me off ,replace it with John Campbell doing an investigation of some sort where he could be joined by Paddy gower as a guest a couple of times a week

  4. I have to admit I am not convinced about keeping FairGo, I might be misguided since I gave up watching it a few years ago although from what I have seen on their promos they do not appear to cover really important issues.

    • Bonnie. Fair Go can be a bit so-so, but it is an effective tool to use when dealing with dodgy businesses, including banks. One threat, and the complaints’ managers start to listen.Axing it is irresponsible, and another silencing of the punters.

  5. thanks Martyn for summing this up so succinctly

    “The NZ population has always been too small for advertiser funded journalism, it has ALWAYS needed State support, add a broken market where social media takes all the revenue while providing none of the journalism and you have a hollowed out Fourth Estate that can’t be a watchdog to anything other than their own self interest.”

  6. Hands up who watches more that 10 hours of free to air, broadcast television?

    Feel free to add age, gender, race & household income for our demographics data.

    • They’ve got way toooooo much aye. Way too much. We’ve only got ZB and a few other stations that were sold for a pretty penny to us. It’s really a struggle getting our voices heard aye.
      I can see @BG and Bob, you fellas have gone done your research. And Barry and the missus, AND Hosking and the missus are fighting an uphill battle.

  7. As long as no public money props up the shite of the style dished up on TV2 and also found in prime time on TV1 (or One or whatever they call it these days). By definition commercial content is created for commercial return, and should be appropriately funded from commercial sources. Quality of television news and current affairs took a dive as soon as commercial stations launched in NZ in late 1980s . Though I concede the presentation improved as it was a classic case of triumph of presentation over content.

    I’m all for an advertising-free channel with focus on news, journalism, science,arts, educational documentaries etc and intelligent discourse.

    As for TV3 and other private channels, they’re private, let them swim or sink on their own. They can create their own content or purchase it at market value from NZ on Air and/or private production houses.

    I’d like to see NZ on Air dismantled and the earlier NZ Arts Council (QE2 Arts Council) model re-established. My reason for that is that currently and past three decades NZ on Air places emphasis of what is (often dubiously) called original content rather on quality artistic production itself. For example, a musician writing a three chord pop song in a derivative and well known style receives greater funding assistance than a group of classical “interpretive” musicians with many years of high level training behind them, who may be struggling to put together, say, a tour for a string trio. Why? because that music isn’t “original”. We produce excellent and highly talented musicians and performing artists in our training institutions and universities at sometimes huge expense only to see them flee the country, as they get little support here. NZ on Air policies do not help in that regard.

  8. Soccer Mum – that is a pejorative used in the USA. Leave it there. We like soccer here and think it’s as good as the other sporting codes. We don’t need to have NZ/AO types seen through a glass darkly-shaded from the saturnine USA. Look over here – this is us – this is where we are and how we are and let’s use Kiwi-ish for us, about us, and while we are thinking along those lines let’s get an economic system that suits all NZs and not one adopted by celebrity usa or those high-in-the-instep from the UK (18th century term).

  9. if either nztv or newshub had EVER spoken ‘truth to power’ they might have a call on help but as both are mere middleclass lifestyle channels…. the take away is ‘don’t be irrelivant crap’

  10. There is nothing from Newshub or TVNZ I wish to preserve. Give their funding to RNZ where serious people get their news anyway.

  11. I had to agree with SM as none of those programming options I could be bothered with as soo lightweight and basically, infotainment. That said it’s bad to have only one mainstream news outlet and plays right into the Right nothing to see her, leg the market decide bullshit..

  12. Public broadcasting used to be a subsidised bulwark against unrestrained conservative private interest. Funny how the lefts Marxist broadcasting agenda and toxic karen authoritarianism ended up being way worse.


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