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Curran’s RNZ+ dream on the scrap heap

Melissa Lee - Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

11 July 2018

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran’s announcement on public media funding this afternoon confirms Labours backtrack on RNZ+ and is a drop in the bucket compared to Labour’s original spending promises, National’s Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media spokesperson Melissa Lee says.

“The plan Ms Curran and the Labour Government campaigned on is in complete tatters. This announcement has simply produced more bureaucracy for those at RNZ and across the broadcasting sector.

“Ms Curran’s own advisory group has told her there’s no appetite for RNZ+, yet she’s still pushing the line that RNZ+ will be a fully digital multi-media platform.

“RNZ already has a strong digital presence and this announcement adds nothing new to their portfolio. RNZ’s leadership already indicated it was cool to the idea of taking on a completely different model.

“The allocation of the $15 million from the Public Media Advisory Group, which was originally set up for a completely different purpose, will be of little comfort to those hoping for the overly ambitious spending levels promised by Ms Curran in Opposition over the last nine years.

“The advisory group was originally set up to establish whether a public media funding commission was required – not to divvy up the Minister’s Budget allocations. At a cost of $1.5 million it begs the question of why an advisory panel was needed for this at all.

“With the delay of Ms Curran’s beloved RNZ+ for another year and with the television component side-lined, it seems that the Minister’s dream will meet a slow and painful end with little benefit for the broadcasters or taxpayers.

“There are serious questions as to the competence of the Minister after several failures and having had almost a decade to prepare for this policy platform. The sector will be wondering if there’s any point looking ahead to her promises of the funding coming through in Budget 2019.”


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