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Kedgley calls for TV quotas for Kids

Kedgley calls for TV quotas to up local content for kids

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling for TV quotas on children's programmes, after a NZ on Air report today said up to 85 per cent of shows on the two channels catering to kids are made overseas.

The report showed that TV3 screened only 9 per cent of first-run local content - its lowest level of local content since 1991, and TV2 screened 10 per cent. TV1 screened 36 per cent of first-run local content, but did not show any children's programmes.

"Clearly a strategy of leaving TV2 to operate as a "cash cow" would effectively discriminate against our children," said Ms Kedgley. "There is an urgent need for a genre-based local quota, especially one for children, to be set for all free-to-air channels."

Ms Kedgley said children needed to see their culture, values and landscapes reflected back from television, to validate their every-day experiences and help foster a New Zealand identity and culture.

"What kind of message are we giving our kids if they do not see the places, stories and people that they are growing up with on TV? In essence, we are telling them that they don't count."

"We also need to make sure that there is adequate funding for NZ on Air to commission children's programmes, since as the report recognises, they are not commercially viable and broadcasters will not commission them otherwise."

628 hours of children's programmes were made locally in 1999 compared to a high of 1265 hours in 1992, a drop the report blames directly on NZ On Air's funding constraints.

Ms Kedgley said a survey done last year found that only 2 of the favourite 20 programmes children viewed last year were New Zealand programmes, underlining the sad state of locally made programming.

"This latest report shows that voluntary self regulation is a total failure when it comes to local programming, especially for children's shows which are seen as offering little in the way of commercial returns," said Ms Kedgley.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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