Labour bill to stop stealth cuts to Radio NZ

Radio New Zealand’s punishing six-year funding freeze would be put to an end by Labour’s bill that matches funding to inflation and population growth and assists the broadcaster’s transition to a multimedia public service network, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.

“The Radio NZ (Catch-Up Funding) Amendment Bill, which has been placed in the private member’s bill ballot today, provides for an 11 per cent increase based on total inflation and an overall population increase of 6.7 per cent from June 2009 to June 2015.

“Current NZ on Air funding for Radio New Zealand for the 2015/16 year is $31,816,000. The one-off 'catch up' for the 2015/16 year would be an increase of around $6.5 million.

“The Bill provides for the catch-up funding to be sustained and for inflation and population adjustments to occur annually. It is the first step in a broad strategy by Labour to improve the quantity and quality of New Zealand voices in broadcasting.

“Public service broadcasting is gradually being eroded in New Zealand. Despite the population of New Zealand growing ever larger and more diverse, the range of voices in broadcasting is narrowing.

“This bill is a stake in the ground on the importance of public interest media,” says Clare Curran.