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Working groups long-standing practice for broadcasters

NZ On Air Media Release

8th February 2012

Working groups long-standing practice for broadcasters and NZ On Air

NZ On Air has had working groups for the selection of groups of one-off programmes – usually documentaries – since the mid-1990s.

Responding today to criticism of the working group process, NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson said working groups are an efficient and effective mechanism for considering applications between bi-monthly Board meetings.

NZ On Air uses working groups to decide which individual programmes will make up an overall strand, once the NZ On Air Board has decided to fund a strand, or linked series of programmes, for a broadcaster.

The working groups comprise representatives from the broadcaster and NZ On Air. Decisions are always made unanimously.

“A working group can meet between Board meetings to consider production-ready ideas within a strand. This allows NZ On Air and broadcasters to be flexible and responsive to proposed production timings.

“The working group process has been running smoothly for many years, over many programme strands and for different broadcasters. It meets the needs of programme producers, broadcasters and NZ On Air.

“All decisions are made public.”

Ms Wrightson said The Story is an example of a programme strand where individual titles within an agreed programme concept were decided by a working group comprising members from the broadcaster and NZ On Air, once the NZ On Air Board had decided to fund the strand.

“Documentaries for The Story were sought through a contestable request for proposals. Four were selected for development by the broadcaster and NZ On Air. Three of these are in production and a fourth is in development.

“While the RFP gave ideas of the sorts of institutions that the broadcaster was interested in looking at, programme makers were free to come up with their own ideas.

“Consistent with our legislation and our policies, NZ On Air plays no role in determining the shape of the documentary and does not know what the editorial position of the final programme will be. This is a matter between the broadcaster and the producer.”

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