Labour promises more money, and a new TV channel, for RadioNZ

Wellington.Scoop
More money for Radio New Zealand has been promised by the Labour Party, to replace the funding freeze of the last nine years. It says the extra resources will also enable RadioNZ to establish a non-eommercial television station.

News from NZ Labour Party
Quality New Zealand programming and journalism is crucial to New Zealand’s national identity. Labour has long supported our local film production industry and well-resourced public media to tell our stories and inform our democracy.

Labour will:

Transform Radio New Zealand into RNZ+, a truly multi-platform provider dedicated to quality New Zealand programming and journalism, including a free-to-air non-commercial television service
Provide $38m a year in additional funding for quality New Zealand programming and journalism, independently apportioned between RNZ+ and NZ On Air. NZOA could use this funding for content promoting New Zealand’s national identity or investigative journalism
Establish a Public Media Funding Commission to oversee funding for RNZ+ and NZOA, including supporting investigative journalism initiatives
Create a ten-year strategy to grow the New Zealand screen industry
Continue to review the screen incentive regime to ensure it remains internationally competitive and delivers maximum benefits to New Zealand, including domestic employment opportunities.

Supporting quality programming and journalism

New Zealand is fortunate to have high quality journalism and major media outlets that are politically non-partisan. New outlets are springing up in the digital age with a focus on investigative reporting.

Yet, funding for public interest journalism is a constant struggle, exacerbated by a fast-changing media landscape driven by rapid technological change. New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of public service media funding of any developed country.

Support for independent public interest and investigative journalism will ensure greater scrutiny of the Government and the institutions that govern New Zealand.

Labour also recognises that as a nation we also need to be able to tell our stories, including those of our diverse communities.

The $38m a year in additional funding for quality New Zealand programming and journalism will be apportioned by an independent Public Media Funding Commission between RNZ+ and NZ On Air. NZ On Air would be able to consider bids for independent investigative journalism from this fund. This will ensure funding decisions are made at arm’s length from the political interests of the Government of the day.

RNZ+

Radio New Zealand has made great strides in becoming a multi-media platform in recent years, but its growth has been constrained by the nine year funding freeze imposed by the National Government. Labour will transform RNZ into RNZ+, a truly multi-platform provider dedicated to quality New Zealand programming and journalism modelled on the ABC in Australia.

With more resources, RNZ+ will be able to continue the work that has started, including producing more long-form investigative work, video content and a free to air non-commercial television service. This multi-platform public broadcaster will deliver content in different formats and devices. We expect RNZ+ to grow content services for special interests and needs, such as Children’s, Pasifika, other ethnicities and those
with disabilities.

NZ On Air

NZOA’s general mandate and role would not change — that is, to provide funding support to the independent commercial production sector and the commercial networks for the production of content valued by citizens. However we would review its charter and scope and look at how we can support more quality content
through it.

Public Media Funding Commission

In order for a publicly-funded commercial free media service to contribute to a stronger democracy it must be editorially and operationally independent of any government.

This requires a process to identify opportunities and allocate funding on a sustainable and long-term basis and ensure the objectives, plans and public purposes of RNZ+ and NZOA are met.

The Public Media Funding Commission will also engage with both commercial and not-for-profit media outlets to identify ways to support new independent and investigative journalism initiatives across all media platforms. Bids would be made via NZOA.
Supporting the growth of our film industry

Our film industry strongly contributes to our economy and our national identity, yet the unpredictable nature of film productions makes it difficult to plan for growth.

This unpredictability means the film industry loses experience and talent overseas, and misses out on opportunities.

The screen industry is an ecosystem. The international projects that come in help feed our domestic industry and vice-versa. We need a long-term strategy for the industry to ensure its growth is sustainable and is more resilient to booms and busts. This will need to include continuing to review the New Zealand Screen Production Grants Scheme and screen incentive regime on an ongoing basis to make sure we are internationally competitive and delivering maximum benefit for New Zealand.

News from Labour Party
Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“Labour recognises that as a nation we must be able to tell our stories, including those of our diverse communities, on multiple platforms effectively in a rapidly-changing media landscape.

“We also recognise that a strong, informed democracy needs a strong, independent, free public media service. Public media, backed with sustainable funding, is essential to ensuring all New Zealanders are engaged and heard. However, a commercial market cannot deliver all of this.

“Labour will provide $38m a year in additional funding for quality New Zealand programming and journalism, into a fund apportioned by a new Public Media Funding Commissioner, independent from political influence.

“We will also implement a long-term film industry strategy, developed with the sector, to better manage the boom / bust cycle of New Zealand’s film industry, so that emerging businesses can achieve the success enjoyed by Weta, which can ride through film’s economic cycles.

“A key component of Labour’s plan is the creation of a new public digital media service, built around RNZ, as a fully multi-platform, non-commercial entity, including a free-to-air non-commercial television service, with a working title of RNZ+.

“RNZ has consistently provided an incredibly valuable service to New Zealanders, despite a nine-year funding freeze from the Government in a time of massive change to the media sector. Labour will build on RNZ’s solid foundation and transform it into something closer to Australia’s ABC.

“RNZ+ will increase in-house production and distribution of New Zealand content, with an emphasis on quality reporting and investigative journalism reflecting all parts of New Zealand. Maori, Pasifika and other ethnic communities, people with disabilities, and education and entertainment for children will have a stronger presence with Labour’s policy.

“Labour’s media and film policy is part of its wider commitment to New Zealand’s arts and culture, including working with Auckland Council to ensure the delivery of critical studio infrastructure, re-establishing the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) scheme, and reviewing the screen incentive regime to ensure it remains internationally competitive and delivers maximum benefits to New Zealand, including domestic employment opportunities.

“New Zealand is a nation of strong, diverse and independent voices. Labour’s policy will provide certainty for our voices, so we can share our stories with ourselves and the world,” says Jacinda Ardern.

 

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