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Contractors and funding to televise Parliament

Media release

29 November 2006


Contractors selected and funding approved to televise Parliament

Gencom Technology Ltd and Kordia™, formerly Broadcast Communications Ltd (BCL), have been selected to televise Parliament, the Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, said today.

The announcement follows Cabinet’s approval of funding to set up and operate television coverage of Parliament.

This amounts to annual operating costs of $0.290 million for 2006/07 rising to $1.785 in 2007/08 onwards. Capital funding of $4.137 million is confined to the 2006/07 financial year.

The project involves the provision of permanently fixed cameras in the debating chamber allowing robotic control from a remote control room. Two select committee rooms will be fitted with cameras at a later date.

Gencom Technology has won the contract to supply and install broadcast quality cameras, equip a control room and central apparatus room and integrate the systems.

Kordia™ has won the contract to provide staff to operate and maintain the equipment and manage the television coverage.

Nineteen companies or consortia responded to a Registration of Interest issued in August. Eight were short-listed in September in the public tender process.

The Office of the Clerk will manage the ongoing operational contract and the Parliamentary Service will own the cameras, cabling and control room. This arrangement reflects that already in place for radio broadcasting from the debating chamber and for video conferencing of select committees.

Ms Wilson said with funding approved and contracts let, installation of cabling, camera mounts and control rooms would occur during the upcoming summer adjournment with the aim of being ready for operation in July 2007.

‘A continuous live television feed of digital standard will be made freely available, making parliamentary debate more accessible to the public and interested parties.

‘The live debate will also be streamed on the parliamentary website www.parliament.nz as well as via the in-house television service operating in the Parliamentary complex. Some storage and retrieval facilities are included in the first phase.

‘In the New Year we’ll contact television outlets which have the capacity to broadcast the proceedings of Parliament, with a view to ensuring the public gets the opportunity to view what goes on in the House of Representatives.’

The new service was tendered on the basis of the existing rules and the current arrangements for cameras in the House. The Standing Orders Committee had endorsed the proposal.

Ms Wilson said the televising of all debates in the House would significantly increase the public’s access to what was going on in the debating chamber. The public would be able to view entire debates, not just clips that the television channels considered to be the most important or entertaining for news bulletins.

‘Televising Parliament is valuable to democracy, as it gives the public the ability to see how legislation is made and how the government of the day conducts itself,’ she said.

New Zealand would join about 60 other countries, including most of the OECD, which televise all or part of the proceedings of Parliament.

ENDS

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