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Putting NZ back on air: Green broadcasting policy

28 October 2008


Putting NZ back on air: Greens' broadcasting policy

The Green Party says New Zealand has the most deregulated broadcasting environment in the western world and a Broadcasting Commission is needed to set some ground rules for broadcasters in New Zealand.

"It's pretty much open slather in New Zealand. Unlike most countries, there are no rules around local programming, foreign or cross ownership of the media. It's no wonder that New Zealand has the lowest levels of local programming of any OECD country, and such high levels of foreign ownership of our media," Green Party Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Retaining TVNZ in public ownership is a priority for the Green Party, and I am concerned that under a National Government it would be stripped of its public service objectives completely, and turned into a wholly commercial enterprise, ready for sale.

"TVNZ is also struggling from the contradictory objectives that it has to maximise its profits and provide public service television. We think its time to look at turning TV1 into a commercial free channel, wholly focussed on public broadcasting.

"TVNZ has developed two commercial free digital channels on Freeview, channels 6 and 7, but these have only a small niche audience - its time to consider a bolder strategy of making its flagship channel, TV1, commercial free.

"The Green Party believes all broadcasters should be required to meet public service obligations in return for the right to broadcast in New Zealand, such as a requirement to screen local programming. We propose increasing the license fee broadcasters pay, and rebating it for broadcasters who meet their public broadcasting objectives.

"Any increase in the broadcasting license fee would go to New Zealand On Air to support public service broadcasting and local programming, including more Maori, children's, local documentaries and not for profit content.

"While the Green Party supports industry self regulatory codes, nobody is monitoring them to see if they are being implemented. We want to ensure the codes are monitored by a new Broadcasting Commission, and regular reports are made to Parliament on their effectiveness.

"There is so much media convergence, it also makes sense to bring existing media monitoring organisations such as the Press Council and the Advertising Standards Authority into one common framework based on the principle of responsible self regulation," Ms Kedgley says.

The Green Party Broadcasting Policy is available at http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/broadcasting


ENDS

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