Music initiatives a positive for national identity

  • Marie Hasler
Cultural Affairs

"Initiatives announced by Government today will promote New Zealand music and substantially raise the level of local content on air, the Hon Marie Hasler, Minister for Culture and Heritage said.

"Both the Music Industry Forum and the reservation of radio spectrum for national radio and youth radio, supports Government's over arching goal to nurture and foster our unique national identity.

"It is clear today that New Zealanders want to see and hear more of themselves reflected through all mediums and the recent upsurge in attention to our national identity through our successful films, books, sports and fashion echoes this.

"The Music Industry Forum is an initiative of the music industry and I am pleased Government is supporting the Forum in its initial stages because popular music is an important element of New Zealand culture.

"Popular music is a substantial means of self-expression and fulfilment for our young people.

"I believe the Forum has the potential to help performers develop their skills and market themselves successfully. Run by a board of trustees the Forum will have both a promotional and educational role.

"Government's assistance to this initiative will complement the public funding already made available for popular music purposes through grants from Creative New Zealand and New Zealand On Air."

Ms Hasler said Government had agreed to $400,000 in funding - $200,000 per annum for two years, as its contribution to the Music Industry Forum. This funding is to cover 50 percent of the Forum's costs in its start-up phase.

Government's contribution is for the Forum's projects and not for running costs. After two years the Forum is expected to be financially self-sufficient.

The Forum would be a non-governmental, non-profit organisation with a board of trustees who will bring expertise from various parts of the popular music industry together.

The Forum will provide coordination and promotion for the industry.

Likely projects include an advisory service for musicians and songwriters; a mentoring scheme for young performers; and an Internet site for the promotion of New Zealand music.

The other initiative announced today sees Government reserving spectrum in the 100 - 108 MHz band for the purposes of a national Youth Radio network service and to enable national Radio to broadcast on a FM frequency.

"Making spectrum in the 100 - 108 MHz band available gives Government a tremendous opportunity to support its cultural and youth policy objectives," Ms Hasler said.

"Once the spectrum for the national Youth Radio network is reserved expressions of interest from potential providers will be called for and an approved business case required.

"Similarly, access to the spectrum reserved for enabling National Radio to broadcast on FM depends on a business case from Radio New Zealand being approved.

"It is expected to take about three months to determine who will be the successful national Youth Radio provider.

"Work to be done involves inviting expressions of interest from potential service providers, assessing these and establishing the final conditions under which the spectrum licence is held.

"I am thrilled that both initiatives announced today will benefit our young people. Popular music is a significant form of cultural expression, especially for the young.

"The Music Industry Forum has the potential to stimulate the music industry and offer useful services to young people who want to start a career in this field.

"While having their own dedicated national radio will give our youth an opportunity to have their own needs and interests catered for."