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Anderton wants broadcasters moved to the regions

26 September 2003 Media release

Anderton wants broadcasters moved to the regions

Industry and Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton wants the head offices of the publicly-owned broadcasters moved into the regions.

He told a regional development conference in Timaru today that TVNZ and Radio NZ no longer need to be based in downtown Auckland and Wellington, where they are missing what is going on in the regions of New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s news media do our regions a disservice. If you look at our television channels, they don’t have reporters in most of our regional centres. Even in Auckland and Wellington, all the reporters and news executives live in the same suburbs and eat in the same cafes.

“That’s why they never really understood what the regions of New Zealand were going through when hospitals, post offices and banks were closing. And it’s why they don’t understand what is happening in the regions now. It is as if, for most major New Zealand media, the only things that happen outside the main centres are crimes and disasters.

Radio NZ and TVNZ have charters these days, and they are supposed to be broadcasters that tell the story of New Zealand. They are never going to do their job adequately while they confine themselves to their downtown ghettos in Auckland and Wellington. They need to get out more.

“They could keep news bureaux in Auckland and Wellington. But the head offices should be in the regions. TVNZ should be in Whangarei or Timaru. Radio New Zealand in Palmerston North or Dunedin.

“We live in an age of modern communication when they can get their messages instantly from any centre to the rest of New Zealand. The sale of TVNZ’s building in downtown Auckland would pay for the charter on its own. Just because a large building was purchased in Auckland doesn’t mean TVNZ should automatically be based there for ever. Television is not about bricks and mortar,” Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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