• Maurice Williamson

The Minister of Communications, Hon Maurice Williamson, announced today that Channel 7, a community-based television group, has been allocated UHF frequencies reserved for non-commercial television in the Wellington and Nelson/Marlborough regions.

The Ministry of Commerce recently advertised for expressions of interest for these frequencies and received three applications that were assessed on the basis of the allocation criteria approved by the Government in May of last year.

The criteria require a non-commercial format, although some advertising and sponsorship is permissible. The statutory authority for making decisions against the criterion rests with the Secretary of Commerce.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the development of television services in the Wellington and Nelson/Marlborough regions which should increase the diversity of television programming," the Minister said.

"Channel 7's proposal has a strong focus on access for local programme makers and includes a range of other non-commercial programming not being provided at a national level.

"The ministry will now start work on putting the appropriate licensing arrangements in place to assist Channel 7 to meet an on air target date, as soon as possible," said Mr Williamson.