MEDIA RELEASE: ActionStation
25 May 2017
Today’s budget announcement of an extra $2.85m per year in funding for Radio New Zealand has been welcomed by public media campaigners ActionStation who delivered a petition alongside the Coalition for Better Broadcasting and citizen campaigner Jo Bond to unfreeze the public radio station’s funding earlier this year.
Jo Bond (Fund RNZ, Peter Thompson (Coalition for Better Broadcasting), Clare Curran (Labour Spokesperson for Broadcasting), Grant Robertson (Labour MP), Julie Anne-Genter (Green MP) and Laura O’Connell Rapira deliver petition on Parliament lawn.
“After eight years of frozen funding, our community of public media defenders are grateful to see a boost. However it doesn’t go far enough.” says ActionStation Campaign Director Laura O’Connell Rapira.
RNZ’s $35 million budget hasn’t changed much since 2007 when a KPMG report found the state-owned broadcaster was underfunded by $6m to $7m.
Dr Peter Thompson, senior lecturer in media studies at Victoria University, recently calculated that if inflation were included it would mean RNZ is now underfunded by $14m a year.
“Quality independent journalism is crucial for our democracy and RNZ demonstrates their value every single day. When you compare this boost to the $60 million per year the Government has committed to attracting Hollywood Producers, it does make you wonder about priorities.” says Ms O’Connell Rapira.
RNZ will receive an additional $11.4 million of operating funding over the next four years to allow for investment in new modern technology and improved capability.
“Like many New Zealanders, I was acutely aware of the importance of RNZ during the 2016 earthquakes. In times of pressure and emergency we look to certain organisations to help us through – RNZ is one of those organisations.’’ says National Party MP Maggie Barry.
The funding increase follows half a year of campaigning which concluded in April when a 32,337 strong joint petition, between ActionStation, the Coalition for Better Broadcasting and RNZ campaigner Jo Bond, was presented to Parliament in a giant block of ice calling for RNZ’s funding to be unfrozen.
Funding for RNZ had been frozen at the same level since 2008