NZ On Air under fire after 50k party
Wed, 17 Nov 2010 6:10p.m.
By Rebecca Wright
A Government department has been issued with a ‘please explain’ after it was found to have spent over $50,000 on a night out for 235 friends - including a live performance by a rock group.
The department in question is New Zealand On Air.
Auckland's The Powerstation was the site of a private performance by Shihad put on by NZ On Air and paid for by you - the taxpayer.
“We had a 21st music function in Auckland to host, I think about 220-odd people from the music and broadcasting sector, in essence to say thank you for 21 great years of Kiwi music,” says NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson.
That thank you cost $50,800, about $212 a head.
[It seems like a lot of money for a government department to spend on a function?] “Well it would have been if that was all food and booze it would be but it wasn't,” says Ms Wrightson.
The booze was sponsored by a liquor company. But food related costs were $12,213 and the venue was $7439.
Shihad was brought over from Australia especially to play the private party - the band and its equipment cost over $20,000.
Another $10,800 was spent on paying someone to organise the knees up - an MC and some sundries.
“I'm satisfied that we did an appropriate function for the music industry,” she says.
But with hindsight, the Minister who attended isn't so sure.
“We have just been through a recession and New Zealanders would be expecting all public money to be accounted for and to be spent prudently so I think that there are some questions that New Zealand On Air has to answer there,” says Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman.
Those questions were answered late today with NZ On Air saying it would think twice before putting on an event like this again.
The Government has been preaching restraint in the public sector - as one MP said today the 3000 bureaucrats who have lost their jobs may not share NZ On Air's reason to celebrate.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
20/11/2010 9:01:27 a.m.
NZ ON AIR= useless, that is all
19/11/2010 2:17:14 p.m.
I think that this organisation has clearly lost their way in the NZ music industry, and it's time for change. It's 'NZ ON AIR' ffs, not NZ LIVE!!! a plethora of kiwi culture could be delivered to an event 'on air' via many different bearers, (wire/radio/tv/internet etc) at much lower cost than a band flown in from overseas. A band, incidentally, that frankly left me cold on all the occasions i saw and heard them in the flesh.
And how about sharing the experience with all NZ music industry people esp music and video artists by using current technology, delivering a celibration at exceedingly low cost direct to our faces and ears, right here???
Cross Networking all of us to synergise the industry? (web tools??)
I adore much of NZ Music, and I'm sick of the huge amount of low quality music videos I am challenged to endure that are funded by NZ ON AIR...
Realistically though, nothing will happen from top down, change has to come from US, the people. The best music seems to be flowing from NON_FUNDED artists....
(and yes i do appreciate heaps of the great television funded by nzonair, I'm only dismayed at the state of music and music video in nz right now.)
19/11/2010 12:26:28 p.m.
The problem with this ‘news item’ has nothing to do with the quality or otherwise of the product NZ On Air fund - the point is, NZOA work with artists and producers to see that the best (arguably) NZ work is developed and made, and with programmers and presenters to encourage as much of that NZ content onto our screens and airwaves as possible….and yes one of the methods by which they succeed in doing so is ‘wining and dining’ their clients – this is standard business practice; its how goodwill is formed, relationships are made, and deals are initiated - and is as effective in the public sector as it is in the private! What has been sensationally portrayed as a shocking waste of ‘our’ money’ was in reality a high-end networking and relationship building event put on by an organisation to impress its clients, in order to create further opportunities to progress its activities – In much the same way as NZ Trade & Enterprise will pay (with ‘our’ money) for a high end gala dinner in Shanghai for the China-New Zealand Business Council, or Tourism NZ will pay (with ‘our’ money) for a high end function in Tokyo for ‘movers and shakers’ of the Japanese tourist industry… whatever else you think of them, NZOA run an efficient organization – 97% of their revenue is invested in the making of content – and networking is an essential part of their role. A 21st birthday is a fantastic opportunity for such an event, and $50,000 is not an over the top figure. The media are just milking it for a headline.
18/11/2010 9:23:10 p.m.
Actually James, Freddy’s tracks were included on four (NZ On Air funded) kiwihits disks: Wandering Eye, on volume 77 (track 3) in Nov 2005 (incidentally this was before their breakthrough European tour); Roady, vol 83 (track 4) June 2006; Boondigga, vol 120 (track 6) Oct 2009; and The Raft, vol 131 (track 5). They also are featured artists on the NZ On Screen website, which is – you guessed it – funded by NZ On Air.
NZOA, whether or not you agree with the merits of the projects they choose to support (and no such organisation could please everyone on that front), do a vast amount of good work for NZ, fund more projects and programs than people realise (aye James!), have really expanded the range and extent of NZ content in our broadcasting mediums (as their charter demands), and have been responsible for funding numerous works and productions that have gone on to make significant export dollars for this country (not part of their charter, but an added bonus).
And while I do hear you Ben, I don’t personally worry too much about the overcommercialisation of NZ On Air funding the decisions - in my view Creative New Zealand is the body who are responsible for funding ‘culture’ (and we tend to get caught up with music when we talk NZ On Air funding, when in reality it is only a small part of what they do – the vast majority of their money goes to television)
18/11/2010 7:17:32 p.m.
Okay, so NZ on Air aren't all bad. I do think that the statistical climb of what you claim to be 'NZ content' on commercial radio to have increased is debatable however. NZ content is what the issue is here, just because it is made here does not make it good to fund, nor even necessarily relevant to NZ. This is where I take issue with a large part of NZ on Air's decisions. poor copies of American pop music done as a sort of 'look at us, we can do what they do' with no reflection given to how this contributes to our identity as NZers or how this is even 'NZ music'. Cultural funding should not be based on commercial appeal.
18/11/2010 4:11:58 p.m.
sorry muz, but fat freddy's havent received a cent from nz on air...
re: doug. go easy on doug, nz on air may as well be a commercial radio network, as they are in bed with them.
18/11/2010 2:46:45 p.m.
And besides the vast majority of NZ On Air grants go to the making of television programming…and Ben your claim that ‘We see very little relevant NZ cultural content’ doesn’t stack up – a selection of the 33 programs funded in the latest round include: Anzac Day 2011 – Our Pacific, Anzac Day 2011 Wreathlaying, Band Together Concert for Canterbury, Polyfest 2011, Small Blacks TV, Tiki Tour, What Now, The Jono Project, Inside New Zealand, Pakipumeka Aotearoa, Asia Downunder, NZ Stories, Praise Be, Rural Delivery, Pasifika, Tangiwai,
I’d say that gives representation to a vast cross section ‘relevant NZ culture’…
Add to that a fair whack also going to community tv (including Today In Canterbury, Far North News, 9 Local News-Southern Newsweek) and bulk funding of Access Radio Stations (including Taranaki Trust, Community Radio Hamilton, Plains FM, Radio Kidnappers, Coast Access Radio, Manawatu Access, Toroa Radio, Southland Community Broadcast, National Pacific Radio Trust, Samoa Capital Radio)…
Look – I’m not claiming NZ On Air are perfect – and I certainly don’t agree with all their decisions (turning down Flight of the Concords is an obvious example of them getting it wrong) - but they have achieved an enormous amount throughout their existence…..they were hugely instrumental (through their kiwi hitdisk and plugger programs) in the increase in NZ music content on commercial radio (from 1.6% in 1995 to nearly 23% in 2005) for example….and in the context of the work they do – and the business environment they operate within (ie the entertainment/broadcasting business), I would think that $50,000 for their 21st Birthday celebration was entirely acceptable – and Shihad (as one of their enduring success stories) was an entirely appropriate choice of entertainment. To claim otherwise, to me, smacks of uninformed jealousy and artist bashing….or an attempt to gain ratings through sensationalist headlines aimed at a soft target!
18/11/2010 2:45:04 p.m.
Doesn’t anyone do their research before spewing forth into print? NZ On Air in their latest music funding round gave a total of 42 grants to organisations – only 5 of these (three to Sony Music Entertainment (NZ) Ltd and two to Warner Music New Zealand Ltd) could be considered even vaguely as ‘large multi nationals owned outside of NZ’ – a small selection of the other production companies that are grant recipients include: ‘Youth Performance Trust’, ‘Rockquest Promotions’, ‘Kora’, ‘Move The Crowd’, ‘Zee Music’, ‘Clap Clap Riot’, ‘Illegal Musik’, ‘Isaac Promotions’, ‘Dawn Raid’, ‘Supermodel’, ‘Somewhat Damaged’, ‘Mt Eden’… I could go on, but it hardly ranks as cosying up to international big business.
18/11/2010 11:46:26 a.m.
@ Muz. Shihad is cultural diplomacy? wow. News Flash: Shihad is in fact bargain cultural diplomacy at $20,000. The problem with NZ on Air is that it regularly strays from its stated purpose of providing relevant NZ cultural content and is indeed about 'investing in relationships with its partners' its partners being record company executives and culturally inept production cronies who are not short of funding. What we get from NZ on Air is bad copies of overseas artists being funded by the tax payer that have nothing to do with NZ culture. We see very little relevant NZ cultural content and plenty of evidence of investment in business partnerships at the expense of cultural and artistic content. NZ on Air needs to return to its stated charter and this function is reflective of its current misguided and wasteful modus operandi.
18/11/2010 11:38:39 a.m.
Aly Cook wrote:
I have written to Government this one and the last about the need to restructure NZ on Air to help those who need it most .. Shihad have had 100's of thousands of dollars out of NZ on air or should I say their multi national company has.. Its VERY hard for independent artist to get help whilst NZ on Air continues to feed the careers of a handful of artists who are associated with major company, who never gleen any success off shore .. This 50 grand party is merely scraping the surface of a Govt organisation that needs a total restructure and is doing VERY little for NZ owned companies.. in comparison to what it gives to the large multi nationals owneed outside of NZ.
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.