Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Storm About To Blow Up Over Gold Coast

Storm About To Blow Up Over Gold Coast


Another embarrassing political storm is about engulf the government’s broadcast funding agency, NZ on Air, as last night’s screening of the first episode of “reality” tv show, The G.C. (TV3, 8pm) raises questions about its funding.

Originally called “Golden Mozzies”, the series of eight 23-minute episodes received $419,408 in August last year from NZ on Air which classified it as a “documentary.” The agency’s newsletter that month said the series would be about “seven Maori families living on Australia’s Gold Coast” and “explore emigration from a Maori perspective and how Tikanga Maori supports them as they adapt to life in a new country.”

TV3’s pre-publicity, however, describes a completely different show which “follows the lives of a group of talented young Maori as they work and play even harder in Australia’s playground, the glittering Gold Coast.” Last night’s first episode revealed that The G.C. is nowhere near as good as its models, Jersey Shore and The Only Way is Essex.

Initial critical appraisal was overwhelmingly negative with some viewers reported to have branded it “fake” and “pathetic” and a Facebook page calling for the show to be cancelled had attracted more than 2000 “likes” within a couple of hours.

But adding to the embarrassment of backing a ratings disaster, NZ on Air will face questions about its management of public funds. They must have known that, although the money went to a production company called Black Inc Media Ltd, that company is 90%-owned by Eyeworks New Zealand Ltd, a subsidiary of Eyeworks Holding, a giant international television production company based in The Netherlands with global revenue estimated at around $460 million. Known for developing successful “reality tv” formats, Eyeworks has affiliated companies in 17 countries and came to New Zealand after buying local reality TV production company, Touchdown, from Auckland producer Julie Christie for an undisclosed sum in February 2006.

Christie, who remained at the helm of her company, purchased a controlling 51% shareholding in Black Inc Media from its founder, Bailey Mackey, an Auckland Maori television presenter/producer, in October 2009, increasing Eyeworks’s holding to 90% last December. With Christie and Mackey as co-directors, Black Inc has secured about $3 million in funding from NZ on Air in the last three years, including $420,000 for The G.C. and $104,594 for last month’s Anzac dawn service, broadcast this year on the Maori Television channel, already fully-funded by almost $60 million a year to cover running costs and programme production.

As well as exposing itself to the perception of New Zealand taxpayers subsidising international companies making purely commercial entertainment programmes, NZ on Air must explain the loosening of programme genre definitions to allow funding of reality television shows under the pretence that they are factual documentaries.

The relaxation of genre definitions has occurred in the period that the prime minister’s electorate chairman, Stephen McElrea, has been on the NZ on Air board and leading a working group specialising in factual programming. The same period has also seen growing dominance of the agency by independent television production companies and their lobby SPADA, the previous employer the last two NZ on Air chief executives, Jo Tyndall and Jane Wrightson.

At the same time as reviewing eligibility for funding, the board’s new chairwoman, Miriam Dean, needs to clarify the role of subsidiary companies acting as fronts for larger producers.

Ms Dean takes over the chair from Neil Walter after confidence in NZ on Air’s political independence was shaken by Mr McElrea’s botched intervention after the screening of the child poverty documentary in the week before the election. She now needs to assert the agency’s independence from the independent production companies that are its main beneficiaries.

The growing controversy over Julie Christie’s latest venture could be the catalyst for a long-overdue audit of a government agency that turns a deaf ear on calls to save TVNZ7 while pouring money into revenue-earning entertainment programmes for commercial networks.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>


The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>


Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog