Govt proposes Radio NZ, TVNZ merger
Fri, 06 Aug 2010 6:08p.m.
By Rebecca Wright
Major changes to the shape of state broadcasting could be just around the corner with an options paper close to being sent to cabinet.
It was commissioned by the Minister of Broadcasting and is said to include a proposal for a merger between Radio New Zealand and TVNZ's digital channels.
3 News understands one of the options proposed in the paper is a merger of Radio New Zealand's newsroom with that of TVNZ's digital arm - channels six and seven.
Labour is concerned at the lack of consultation.
“Well it’s got all the hallmarks of a shotgun wedding - as I understand it, broadcasters aren't being consulted - it’s being driven by treasury and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage at the Minister’s direction,” says Labour MP Brendon Burns.
TVNZ’s digital channels - six and seven - have been publicly funded for the past five years, at a cost of nearly $80 million.
The funding is due to run out in 2012, when 3 News sources say the merger with Radio New Zealand would take place.
Mr Burns says the merger is a first step towards privitasing the rest of TVNZ. He's calling for the process to be opened up to the public.
“This shouldn't be done by some secret officials’ review then going to cabinet - it should be done as a public exercise asking Bew Zealanders what they want,” he says.
Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman refused to be interviewed on the issue.
A spokesman told us that the paper is yet to go to cabinet and the Minister has already signaled he's looking at various options, and possible synergies.
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6/08/2010 9:16:43 p.m.
Blair have you actually listened to what National's policy is? It is that there wont be any assets sales without consulting the public, which means in 2011 if they plan to make any sales in their next term they will campaign on it. Something labour never did, and if you look at the assets sales of the past you will find that labour sold the vast majority. I suggest you take your rose tinted glasses off and just go see what labour sold in their previous 9 years. Because yes they did sale a lot of SOE assets. And the railways are a huge drain on tax payer funds because it does not and never will be worth the money. Kiwi bank actually hasn't played much of a role in bringing the cost of banking down, no where near as much as other NZ owned banks and financial institutes, but kiwi bank will cost the tax payers as it needs close to a billion dollars investment to grow. sadly the problem with labour supporters is they have very little to know financial or business experience
6/08/2010 8:34:19 p.m.
This will be the best thing to happen to New Zealand broadcasting - TV1 and TV2 are a massive commercial beast should be sold off - its way too late to make them a "public broadcaster".
Radio New Zealand show how a true public broadcaster should be - and merging them with 6 and 7 would be a great step forward.
6/08/2010 7:52:26 p.m.
@Lightseed Take a look at the NZ radio industry today to see how much of a bad idea this is. The National Government of the nineties sold the Radio NZ commercial operation which was basically all the Classic Hits stations, ZM which back then was just local in Wellington and Christchurch and Newstalk ZB and also lots of local stations around the country. Anyhow that sale lead to what is now an industry controlled by 2 oversized overseas owned companies. Most of what you hear on the radio today comes from Auckland. National made a promise that they wouldn't sell any assets in the first term but I but if we let them into power the next term they will go all out and sell as much of this country as they can. If TVNZ was sold it would mean less local programming and degrade the quality of the news service of RNZ.Labour didn't sell anything in the term between 1999 and 2008. Labour did prepare our assets to be sold in the 1980's but that was a totally different Labour government. The more recent Labour government bought back the railways which the National government of the 90's sold, Labour started a new bank to replace the one the Labour government of the 1980's sold. Thanks to that bank we pay less in fees to what we paid 10 years ago.
6/08/2010 7:27:31 p.m.
Very good idea, would actually improve Radio NZ.
Labour are getting boring with the privatization claims. National has sold nothing off and said they would go to the public before doing so, unlike all that labour sold off in their last 9 years in office.
6/08/2010 6:42:32 p.m.
Leave radio nz as it is!!!
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