Public Media Funding Allocation

  • Hon Clare Curran
Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

Public Media Funding Allocation

Kia ora koutou, good afternoon.

I’d like to acknowledge:

  • the Chairs of RNZ and NZ On Air – Jim Mather and Ruth Harley.
  • The Chief Executives of both organisations – Paul Thompson and Jane Wrightson.
  • The Chair of the Public Media Funding Advisory Group, Michael Stiassny, and members of the Group.

In all healthy democracies, the media plays a critical role in holding public and private institutions to account.

I want our public media system to continue to do that. But I also want it to be innovative, to embrace new technology and use public resources to maximum effect.

For too long, New Zealand has had the lowest level of public service media funding of almost any developed country in the world.

Denmark – a country of similar size to us – invests $935m in public media. Australia – much larger but close by – spends nearly $1.5b.

The lack of investment here has narrowed the range of voices in our media despite our growing and increasingly diverse population.

Today’s announcement represents a first step towards changing that.

RNZ will receive $4.5 million to extend its services and reach more people in different ways.

This boost will take RNZ several steps closer toward becoming a fully multi-platform audio-visual public media organisation – RNZ+.

We have also ear-marked $4 million for NZ On Air to support the production of more diverse local content.

Both NZ On Air and RNZ have performed admirably in a static funding environment.

This funding, announced in Budget 2018, will give both organisations more scope to create and support great local content and get it out into the world through radio, television, and new digital media channels.

Collaboration is key so we’ve created a new $6m Innovation Fund.

This exciting concept is a new type of sector-wide collaboration to encourage the creation of more public media content.

Quality New Zealand programming and journalism are crucial to our national identity and need this type of innovative, ongoing and sustainable resourcing.

RNZ will commission content in a joint venture with NZ On Air.

The multi-media content developed with this funding will air on RNZ platforms and be commissioned from the independent production sector using NZ On Air’s existing funding processes.

I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership

$500,000 will also be used to fund research into how Crown-funded media agencies can use their assets more efficiently and to work out the level of funding required for an effective public media well into the future.

These funding allocations will help to enhance the voice of independent public service media and support people to tell New Zealand stories which reflect and reinforce our unique culture.

RNZ and NZ On Air will make their own final decisions on content and how the money will be spent. It’s not my role to get involved in those sorts of decisions.

The outcome, though, should be additional in-depth news and current affairs as well as content for under-served audiences such as Māori and Pacific communities, children and people who live in regional areas.

All New Zealanders must be able to see and hear themselves reflected in public media.

Public media plays a vital role in keeping us informed, engaged and entertained. It also serves as a window into our culture by telling our stories at home and abroad.

The funding we’ve announced today will help ensure our public media institutions are well equipped to adapt, evolve and thrive in a rapidly changing sector.

Today’s allocation is just a starting point.

I’ve already started work on an initiative for Budget 2019 which looks at what’s needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the public media system.

This will be the work of several Budgets.