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Better Public Media Trust Suggests Two Ways Out Of Job Cuts At TVNZ And Losing Discovery/Three

The news of TVNZ cutting 68 jobs has come hard on the heels of Discovery announcing it will make severe cuts later this year. Both problems could be solved by the government.

Better funding for TVNZ

"As TVNZ commercial funds diminish, it is natural that they must find ways to stay afloat," said BPM Trustee, Myles Thomas. "Sadly, the first things to go are the nice-to-haves such as current affairs and programming for niche audiences - Sunday, Fair Go and Re. It is inevitable that more cuts will need to be made as TVNZ's commercial income shrinks. What will be next?"

Better Public Media Trust calls on the Minister for Media and Communications, Melissa Lee to start funding TVNZ, to save the programmes that Kiwis love and rely on.

"TVNZ's annual budget is roughly $300 million. For the cost of just $5 a month per capita, New Zealand taxpayers could fully fund TVNZ so that it need no longer rely on any advertising at all," Thomas said.

Levy model

BPM recognises that Minister Lee is part of a government that is trying to cut expenditure, so we have another suggestion. A digital services levy would raise significant funds for programmes and content on TVNZ and through NZ On Air. There is also the Telecommunications Development Levy that could be lifted back to previous levels to go towards operational costs. A levy model makes media funding entirely independent of government, avoiding claims of government bias.

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Other benefits

Removing advertising from TVNZ would have the added benefit of improving the programmes they make, with less commercially-driven content and more independent news, current affairs, local drama and documentaries. And it would help Discovery/Three increase advertising revenue as advertisers look elsewhere to advertise.


New Zealand pays substantially less per capita for public media compared to similar countries like Australia and Ireland. Annual costs of public media per capita (NZD) as of 2023:

  • NZ - $44
  • Australia - $60
  • Ireland - $73
  • UK - $129
  • Finland - $145

Levies to fund public media are already up and running successfully in France, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa and elsewhere.

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