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First-ever regional television funding

May 3, 2005

Communities set to benefit from first-ever regional television funding

The Regional Television Broadcasting Association is delighted with today's Ministry of Broadcasting announcement that $3.5million will be allocated to regional television in this year's budget.

It is the first time that any government funding has been apportioned to regional television and is seen as a significant step forward for the country's regional stations and their audiences.

The $3.5million will be allocated over the next four years.

Regional Television Broadcasting Association chairman Jim Blackman says it is a clear signal that the government recognises the worth of regional television and the role it plays in New Zealand's broadcasting tapestry.

"We are absolutely delighted. This funding is key step forward in consolidating New Zealand's regional television services which ably serve their local communities and local interest groups. For many years the regionals have been the overlooked side of broadcasting and they have struggled to make ends meet.

"We know growing numbers of viewers around the country appreciate and value our service. They are often people who seek safe, family viewing or wish to reinforce their New Zealand, local or ethnic identity or their own values and experiences. These are aspects of television broadcasting that mainstream broadcasters are hard pushed to deliver."

In announcing the funding, Minister of Broadcasting Steve Maharey says regional broadcasters serve their local communities in ways no other media outlets can, providing forums for local and minority voices. He says running a regional television is 'tough work'.

"Stations are often reliant on dedicated volunteers and part-time programmers. This new funding will ensure local broadcasters can continue to provide quality programming to their communities," Mr Maharey says.

Mr Blackman says: "The members of the association look forward to working with NZ on Air to develop a funding framework."

ENDS

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