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Labour to establish new public broadcaster for digital age

Labour to establish new public broadcaster for the digital age

Kiwis will be asked to help shape a new, non-commercial, modern public broadcaster to be established under a Labour Government.

Announcing Labour's broadcasting policy today spokesperson Clare Curran said it would bring together elements of non-commercial public broadcasting that already exist, including the statutorily independent functions of TVNZ7 and Radio NZ, to both strengthen and broaden them in the digital environment.

The new broadcaster, which may also include a nationwide news service, will be based on the outcomes of a nationwide public debate, to be completed within one year of Labour winning office.

"A strong, independent, free public broadcasting media service not driven by commercial interests is essential to an informed democracy," Clare Curran said.

"Labour's commitment to restoring public broadcasting in New Zealand marks an important change towards a contemporary Kiwi approach to protecting and promoting New Zealand's culture in the 21st Century.

"The current Government axed TVNZ7 and stripped TVNZ of its public charter. We are currently one of the very few countries in the world without a public television broadcaster.

"A responsible government invests in public broadcasting in order to meet the needs of a diverse society and ensure that quality local content is both produced and delivered.

"A public debate will allow New Zealanders to have their say on the shape of future public broadcasting.

"That debate will also include a discussion of the institutional form, legislative framework and range of funding options, including the use of existing assets and dividend streams, and other international models, such as those used in Europe and the United States," Clare Curran said.
Labour will also:

* encourage a stronger representative voice in the broadcasting and New Zealand content sector, particularly with reference to the impact of new media.

* continue to encourage the screen production industry. Funding through NZ On Air will continue at present levels, but with a review of the organisation, its goals and objectives, and its models for allocating its funding to local content.

* investigate the merits of providing special tax status to low-profit limited liability content development companies which are New Zealand owned who commit to a defined programme of re-investment in their business, in order to encourage a competitive environment in New Zealand digital media.

* review free to air Pasifika content and look at ethnic broadcasting content with a view to supporting better programming outcomes for the diverse cultures of New Zealand.

"Labour believes our plan is bold and future focused. New Zealand wants it and definitely needs it. We'll support New Zealand content and we'll provide a stronger mechanism to deliver it," Clare Curran said.

Authorised by Clare Curran, Parliament Buildings Wellington

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