Pacific FM Network Gets Go-Ahead

  • Mark Gosche
Pacific Island Affairs

14 December 2001Media Statement
Pacific FM Network Gets Go-Ahead

Embargoed until noon Saturday 15 December 2001

A pilot national Pacific radio network is to be established with funding of almost $7.7 million, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Mark Gosche and Broadcasting Minister Marian Hobbs announced today (Saturday).

“This funding, and the recent reservation of a frequency on the FM band, will enable a national Pacific network to become a reality– something Pacific communities have wanted for years,” the Ministers said.

The funding comprises $1.445 million for capital funding this financial year, and $6.21 million for operating costs over four years. The FM frequency will be in the upper FM band (100-108Mhz).

“A national Pacific radio network will enable Pacific peoples’ stories and languages to be heard,” said Mark Gosche.

The network will be driven and operated by Pacific communities on a not-for-profit basis, and will provide for regional input.

“A national programme will complement the existing local programmes by providing a vehicle for them to broadcast nationally relevant programmes across the country,” the Ministers said.

While currently Tagata Pasifika provides a national television connection for Pacific communities, there is no other national vehicle for Pacific communities to communicate with one another.

“The radio network will help Pacific communities link up regionally and nationally to debate topical issues, and to coordinate and organize more effectively. It will also help maintain and strengthen Pacific languages, as well as our music and culture.

“It will also assist Pacific people get information that is relevant and important to them. A strong theme that emerged from previous consultation with Pacific people is that many don’t know about existing services and programmes, how to access them and who is eligible for these.”

Marian Hobbs said the reach of the Pacific radio network will parallel some of the largest radio networks in the country and it will have regional input.

“Coverage will reach to approximately 85% of the country, with studios in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch planned.

“However further work is required in the development and establishment phase for the network before this can happen.”

A steering group led by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs will report to ministers on the next phase of work. This includes establishing governance arrangements and a strategic plan for the network, developing mechanisms for monitoring the pilot and ultimately getting the network on air.

“Pacific communities will have an opportunity to provide input to the governance arrangements,” said Mark Gosche.

The network provider will be selected through a tender process and the national Pacific FM network is expected to go live in the second half of next year.

“This government has honoured its commitment to give Pacific communities the mechanism with which to build their capacity, to voice their issues and concerns, and to participate effectively in realizing their aspirations.”

For more information contact Lyn Holland in Mark Gosche’s office, 04 4719 063 or 021 270 9004 or Trevor Henry, in Marian Hobbs office, phone 04 4719 131 or 025 477 994.