NZ on Air’s admission that its budget is under huge pressure will be a concern to New Zealanders already disturbed at the lack of quality local television programmes, says Labour's Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran.
“The National Government’s seven year starvation funding for new public interest television is eating into money available for programmes made by New Zealanders about New Zealanders.
“Labour believes NZ on Air is putting a brave face on an unsustainable model and while it tries its best, it is compromised by being subject to the same market failures that it was intended to redress.
“TV3 is aggrieved today that its new soap serial won’t receive taxpayer funding. Yet TV3’s track record with spending NZ on Air funding is questionable. It has just axed the prime time current affairs show 3D.
“After getting more than a half a million from the taxpayer to fund 3D, TV3 bosses repeatedly chopped and changed the scheduling of the show. This made it difficult for 3D to build up an audience, something which has since been used as a justification for the cancellation of the series.
“ If the Government can spend $26 million on a referendum to change our flag, then they could surely increase funding to produce more culture such as quality drama, children’s shows, regional programmes and prime time current affairs. There needs to be a fresh look at how the funding model of NZ on Air operates,” says Clare Curran.