Friday, April 12, 2024

Funding Boost for RNZ Following Scrapped TVNZ Merger

New Zealand Minister for Broadcasting and Media, Willie Jackson, has announced that the NZ Government is investing in Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and NZ On Air to “ensure all New Zealanders have access to public media that delivers world class content.”

RNZ will receive an annual increase of NZD$25.7m. This will include:

  • $12m for RNZ to maintain public media services
  • $12m for a new digital platform
  • $1.7m for AM Transmission

NZ On Air will also receive a $10m increase for 2023/24 which will focus on reaching new audiences.

The planned merger of Radio NZ and TVNZ was scrapped in February, 2023, due to adverse public opinion and the Government refocussing on “cost of living” issues.

“We must ensure that New Zealand can meet cost of living issues and support the cyclone recovery, while also delivering world class public media for all of Aotearoa,” said Willie Jackson. “Today’s announcement will mean a total saving of $364.7 million over four years compared to merging RNZ and TVNZ.

“We have listened to New Zealanders and now is not the right time to restructure our public media. However the changing media landscape, increased competition, changing audience demands, and declining revenue pressures facing our public media are not going away.

“To address these challenges, we are investing $117.8 million over four years to deliver modern, trusted and relevant public media to all New Zealanders. This includes ensuring there is access to Civil Defence lifeline emergency communications and support to NZ On Air to strengthen collaborative public broadcasting.

“Supporting RNZ to provide public media services and to meet the needs of all New Zealanders in the digital age is critical. That’s why we are committing $25.7 million (annually) to ensure RNZ is financially sustainable for the future.

“This investment will strengthen news and current affairs coverage through a free multi-media digital platform to reach new audiences, expand regional coverage to be truly national, establish a new initiative to prioritise Māori and Pacific content and support RNZ to deliver civil defence lifeline emergency communications.

“To bolster collaborative public broadcasting, we will be restoring NZ On Air funding and providing a $10 million increase for 2023/2024 to support the creation of innovative content.

“The funding will support the creation of high-quality content that better represents and connects with audiences such as Māori, Pasifika, Asian, disabled people and our rangatahi and tamariki. It is vital that all New Zealanders are seeing and hearing themselves in our public media,” said Willie Jackson.

$1.7 million per year will ensure RNZ continues as a critical lifeline utility in civil defence emergencies. This investment will support RNZ’s AM Transmission services so lifeline services can be provided on platforms people can access during times of emergency.

“As we have seen over the past few years, and in particular during the recent severe weather events, RNZ is a crucial lifeline utility in civil defence emergencies and is one of the places New Zealanders can turn to for reliable, up-to-date, accurate, and emergency information.

“Investing $25.7 million annually into New Zealand’s public media reflects the necessary changes that must be made to meet the challenges and priorities of our public media landscape. We’ve listened to New Zealanders, and our public media needs to provide for both an Aotearoa of today, and tomorrow.” said Willie Jackson.

Breakdown of new public media funding:

$364.7 million of funding originally intended for the new public media entity, Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM) over the next four years will be returned for other Government priorities.

There will be a $25.7 million annual increase to expand and strengthen RNZ’s public broadcaster role. It is made up of:

  • $12 million for RNZ to maintain its public media services in Aotearoa New Zealanders,
  • $12 million for RNZ to innovate a multi-media digital platform, expand regional coverage, strengthen Māori and Pacific content for new audiences and build a dedicated emergency lifeline service, and
  • $1.7 million, annually, for AM Transmission to support RNZ’s lifeline emergency communications.

An additional $10 million will be provided to NZ On Air for 2023/24. This funding will focus on reaching new audiences through cross-sector collaboration with RNZ, Whaakata Māori and Te Māngai Pāho, fostering new ideas and ensuring New Zealanders are seeing and hearing themselves in Aotearoa public media.

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