radio broadcasting rnz media journalism

National killed the radio station

The Buggles song ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ probably isn’t the best comparison but National’s anti-public broadcasting ideology is slowing starving our only public broadcaster, RNZ.

As it once again demonstrated over the recent earthquakes, it’s a national treasure that deserves better than nine years of real-term funding cuts.

Yesterday I spoke at a Fund RNZ public meeting in Dunedin and laid out some statistics:

  • RNZ has had a nine year funding freeze, leading to $3 million less income a year in real-terms.
  • RNZ ran a $4.7m deficit in the last year
  • RNZ made 47 staff redundant last year.
  • New Zealand spends four times less on public broadcasting than developed world average.

I also spoke about the Greens’ commitment to public broadcasting and the need for the Government to increase its funding in this year’s budget.

All New Zealand media and journalists are working hard in a difficult time of significant change, but there is an important role for public broadcasting in our media environment.

We lack a public broadcaster on TV ever since TVNZ 7 got the scrap. RNZ’s CEO warned this year it’s at risk of stalling.

News out this week has been that RNZ’s Auckland city office has been sold, but guess where the money goes? It’s not going to re-fund RNZ, it’s going to the Government’s consolidated fund.

I reckon it’s time to properly fund this national treasure. It’s too important to stall, let’s support it to let it fly.