Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset

Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.

“An email to staff has outlined the decision to ‘prioritise the allocation of our resources towards those activities that best deliver audience and content outcomes.’

“A funding freeze for eight years has forced RNZ into this invidious position where it has to sell its assets in order to keep operating and delivering a quality service.

“New Zealand is the only country in the OECD without a non-commercial public television station, therefore RNZ, which is trying to evolve into a multimedia service, is of enormous value.

“The Government is trying to starve RNZ out of existence, which has forced it to put its Auckland asset on the market. Yet, the Prime Minister continues to support TVNZ by recently opening the new state broadcaster’s Auckland building despite a cost blowout of $60.3 million.

“There is a massive hole in funding for quality public interest media in this country. This government is blatantly indifferent to the plight of RNZ.

“RNZ currently has the highest share of audience in New Zealand radio. It is also providing a strong multi-media service that isn’t driven by commercial success.

“Labour is committed to a strong, free public broadcasting service which is essential to an informed democracy,” says Clare Curran.