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Parliamentary broadcasts extended to Waikato

Press Release

7 December 2006

Parliamentary broadcasts extended to Waikato

Waikato followers of Parliamentary debates can now tune in on 1494AM following extensions to the radio coverage of Parliament.

The Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, said this year’s Budget provided additional funding to extend the broadcasting of Parliament on Radio New Zealand’s AM network to Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland.

‘Waikato is the first area to cut over,’ she said. ‘The Bay of Plenty is expected to tune in before Christmas with Southland following before Parliament resumes sitting for the 2007 year.

‘As Speaker, I have been keen to increase the availability of information about and knowledge of Parliament,’ she said.

‘In a democratic society, it is important that as many people as possible have access to Parliament.

‘For those who live outside Wellington, radio is the best way at the moment to follow proceedings in the House.’

Previously, 70% of the population could access the AM network’s Parliamentary broadcasts. The addition of Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland will bring that figure to 81%.

There have been several recent Government initiatives to make Parliamentary debates more accessible. Parliamentary broadcasts have been streamed live from the Radio New Zealand website www.radionz.co.nz since March 2006, and last month two companies were selected to televise Parliament.

‘A continuous live television feed of digital standard will be freely available from July 2007, making parliamentary debate more accessible to the public and interested parties,’ Ms Wilson said.

‘The live debate will also be streamed on the parliamentary website www.parliament.nz as well as via the in-house television service operating in the Parliamentary complex.’

Ms Wilson said the broadcasting of Parliament, whether it be on radio or television, is valuable to democracy as it gives the public the ability to see how legislation is made and how the government of the day conducts itself.

New Zealand will join about 60 other countries, including most of the OECD, which televise all or part of the proceedings of Parliament.


ENDS

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