No Signal No Fee

  • Maurice Williamson

Anyone who cannot receive any television broadcasting signal originating in New Zealand at all will not have to pay a Broadcasting Fee, announced Minister of Communications Hon Maurice Williamson today.

New Broadcasting Fee regulations, which are effective from today, mean NZ On Air is no longer required to collect a Fee from households which receive no New Zealand television signal.

"Although there are few people in New Zealand who cannot receive at least one channel and to whom this will apply, in the past NZ On Air was required under the law to collect a Fee from them, if they had a television set," the Minister said.

The changes come under Section 82 of the Act, which allows exemptions to be made for certain classes of people. Exemptions under Section 82 cannot be made on an individual basis.

The no signal no fee exemption from the Broadcasting Fee, adds to the existing exemptions for hospital patients and people living in rest homes.

Other changes under the revised regulations, which come into effect on 1 September, include:

One Broadcasting Fee will now cover all television sets in a household, regardless of whether those people are related or not. This change will affect households where more than one family live in the same house and operate separate televisions and people in flatting situations. In the past they would have had to pay separate fees now only one Fee is payable per household.

The concessional rate will now apply to all people living alone who have reached the age of eligibility for receiving NZ Superannuation or Veterans pensions, and those who are eligible for the Transitional Retirement Benefit. In the past, only those actually receiving NZ Superannuation or a Veterans' Pension were eligible. The concessional rate is still only applicable to people living alone.

One Broadcasting Fee will now be payable by Hospitals, bringing them in line with other entities such as schools, hotels and retirement homes. Only one Fee is payable for each hospital, no matter how many television sets there are in public areas. Hospital patients will continue to be exempt.

Changes have been made to allow more flexibility of payment intervals and method of payment. Payments will now be accepted in multiples of any number of months.

NZ On Air is now also entitled to offer a one percent discount for electronic payments. This allows NZ On Air to recognise prompt payment, in line with common billing practice for utilities and other businesses.