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Let's Celebrate Young Kiwi Voices, PM Says

New Zealanders are proud globe trotters and world traders, but most of all we passionate about our unique kiwi identity, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today at the announcement of a new Music Industry Forum.

Mrs Shipley announced a series of initiatives to help young Kiwi musicians reach new heights of innovation and excellence. They include the establishment of a Music Industry Forum, a non-commercial Youth Radio network and a FM frequency for National Radio.

"In co-operation with the industry and musicians themselves, we're building on a great platform," Mrs Shipley said.

The Government will fund the industry forum with up to $200,000 a year, in partnership with the music industry, to promote and coordinate the development of New Zealand music.

"This is an initiative that some of the leading figures in the music industry have come up with, and we're keen to back it wholeheartedly," Mrs Shipley said.

Proposals will be called for over the next three months from providers interested in running the Youth Radio network.

"There’s an unselfconscious spirit abroad in Kiwi music today. That’s the spirit we are fostering today.

"It’s thrilling to hear a New Zealand musician singing about Karangahape Road, the Manawatu or Canterbury with as much passion as their international counterparts serenade New York, Seattle or Route 66.

"I’m confident that we’ll see a whole lot more of that attitude with the steps we’re taking today.

"I’m hugely excited about the Music Industry Forum and Youth Radio network. They’ll strengthen the voice of young New Zealand.

"They're instances of true co-operation between the Government and industry. This sort of co-operation is far more fruitful than the dead hand of regulation – which some parties have proposed in the name of quotas.

"When industry has buy-in, success is guaranteed.

"A third commitment of our strategy will see an FM frequency for National radio. This is a vital step in providing better quality reception of National radio programmes," Mrs Shipley said.

The Government will also be seeking expressions of interest for the use of spectrum for access radio, Iwi, Pacific Island and other community networks.

"In a rapidly moving world where our unique culture could very easily be absorbed or even eclipsed, National is determined to see our unique identity through music and the arts retained.

"This is an important next step in being confident and being proud of ourselves, our country and our future.

"Being creative is all about being plugged into the world at the same time as being uniquely Kiwi," Mrs Shipley said.

"So let the voices be heard. Let the music begin. Let Kiwi kids be heard."

ENDS

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