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NZ On Air Looks Back On Positive Year

NZ On Air Looks Back On Positive Year For Public Broadcasting

NZ On Air hopes to see rapid progress in the development of public broadcasting policy, Chairman David Beatson said as the organisation’s 1999/2000 Annual Report was released today.

“The need for rapid and effective progress in the review is clear. The pervasive and powerful influence of radio and television in our lives means that all New Zealanders will be affected by the outcome of this review.

“While our radio and television broadcasters do a great job within their own resources, they are only able to deliver a meagre ration of local content in their programmes compared to their counterparts in most other countries of comparable capability.

“We need to do more about strengthening our own cultural capacities if we are to make any distinctive contribution to the rest of the world. We can’t do that if we are deluged by a growing wave of broadcast programmes produced by and for other cultures.

“While there will be debate about the means by which we make progress, our research shows there is strong consensus about the desired objective – a better deal for New Zealand audiences who want to see and hear more of our stories, our songs, our selves on air.”

“The debate is valuable – but we also need to end some of the uncertainties over the introduction of a new charter for TVNZ, the review of Radio New Zealand’s charter, the prospect of local content quotas, and new sources of funding for local content production if we are to make progress.

“The termination of the Public Broadcasting Fee has allowed NZ On Air to concentrate on our core task – helping New Zealand citizens secure access to a broad range of programmes reflecting and celebrating our own culture and identity which would otherwise not be made in a commercial broadcasting market,” Mr Beatson said.

“In the past year we have concentrated on developing strategies to ensure that we continue to deliver on these objectives.

“We have initiated strategic reviews of our key television funding areas, including children’s programming, Maori programming, and our drama strategy. These reviews have been informed by widespread consultation and research.

“Importantly, we have also taken steps to place our relationship with broadcasters on a more structured footing, designed to achieve a more balanced and diverse range of publicly funded programmes across the major networks.

“As always, our aim is to ensure that decisions about public funding of programmes and other broadcasting activity reflect the needs of their intended audiences and are made without undue political or commercial influence.

“By making funding available on a contestable basis, NZ On Air ensures New Zealanders receive the best value for their public investment in broadcasting.”

The Annual Report outlines a number of highlights from the 1999/2000 year, including:

 A much-needed boost to New Zealand drama production, including Duggan, Jackson’s Wharf, Lawless and Greenstone.

 A dedicated children’s drama initiative (for the first time in over three years). The resulting project, Being Eve, will screen in 2001.

 The production and screening of a major millennium documentary series, Our People, Our Century, and the development of new in-depth, research-driven documentary series (in addition to the two ongoing documentary strands, Inside New Zealand and Documentary New Zealand).

 NZ On Air’s programme to promote New Zealand music on commercial radio saw steady progress, as New Zealand music content on radio topped 10% for the first time in years.

Ends

For further information:
Jo Tyndall David Beatson
Chief Executive Chairman
(04) 382 9524 (09) 366 2901

The annual report is available by contacting NZ On Air. It is also available on the Internet, at www.nzonair.govt.nz

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