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Sensible decision on spectrum licence fees

Sensible decision on spectrum licence fees

A government decision to provide a payment plan for radio stations wanting to renew their spectrum licences is a sensible response to current market realities, says Labour’s broadcasting spokesman Brendon Burns.

Brendon Burns said he supported the announcement today by Communications Minister Steven Joyce that instead of radio stations having to pay lump sums for 20 year spectrum licence renewals, they can make five annual payments.

“Commercial radio is always a tough market and the recession has made it tougher,” Brendon Burns said.

“Viable commercial radio is a valued part of our broadcasting mix. There would be little point if the Government forced them to pay upfront if this simply meant stations going broke, costing jobs and investments.

“I am pleased to see the second acknowledgement this month by the Government that being totally hands-off works only in theory. We saw that earlier with the Government’s intervention, albeit late and messy, to ensure we had free-to-air coverage of the Rugby World Cup.”

Brendon Burns says Mr Joyce made his money in commercial radio so he probably understands the need for judicious interventions in broadcasting, even if Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman has yet to understand that.

“Perhaps the junior Minister will now start mapping out a strategy for broadcasting that reflects all its complex needs before his time in the portfolio comes to an end.”

ENDS

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