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Coleman bites off more than he can chew

Written By: - Date published: 5:34 pm, February 18th, 2010 - 80 comments
Categories: Media, national - Tags: , ,

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman may have bitten off more than he can chew with his attack on Radio New Zealand. With his distaste for the very concept of public broadcasting a matter of public record it seems unlikely it ever crossed Coleman’s mind that New Zealanders might actually like Radio NZ and want it to be properly resourced. Now, the backlash is beginning.

Take the Save Radio New Zealand group on Facebook. Set up late last night after the story broke on One News, the group already has 1700 2800 3500 supporters and is currently growing at a rate of 10 more every minute.

The comments on the group’s wall really paint a picture of the range of people affected by the funding cuts and what RNZ means to them:

Bridget Sullivan Radio New Zealand has provided me and a whole lot of mothers all over with New Zealand with 24 hour company when stuck home with young kids – it’s enjoyable, interesting, and intellectually stimulating – changing Radio NZ’s funding structure will lead to inevitable changes in its format and just corrode its appeal and make it the same as all the other stations over time.

Grant Collie living and working in the Rangitikei, Afternoons on FM is a great background and I have no interest in listening to the mindless pap on commercial stations when I am sober! Public broadcasting is a right for taxpayers Mr Coleman and why the hell should we rural folks have to put up with AM reception just because you and your cohorts have no concept of community needs.

Robyn Hunt As a person who is vision impaired, Radio NZ is a very important part of my life. Couln’t bear to see it dumbed down. Where would I get my news and current affairs that I don’t have to read. And I would very much miss Concert FM.

And as one commentator points out, this is an issue that for many people cuts to the core about what it means to be a New Zealander:

Stephen Stedman Radio New Zealand is doing a magnificent job. It is a beacon. A place for good quality news coverage, political debate and a broadcaster that has immersed itself in the culture of New Zealand. We get to hear our stories. We get to participate.. It helps us to understand & celebrate our cultural identity. Without RNZ and the Student & community stations we would be living in vacuum and that’s scary. They are also an important archive of NZ culture and history. It appears we have a government that doesn’t want to run the country, they just want to run the economy. They clearly don’t understand the bigger concepts of what a Nation is.

Of course, a Facebook group alone doesn’t make a campaign, but it’s a sign people are starting to organise. There’s enough anger and passion here to make life for Jonathan Coleman very difficult if he continues to undermine our last bastion of public service broadcasting. The challenge will be to channel that anger into real world action.

80 comments on “Coleman bites off more than he can chew ”

  1. Coleman is one of the more odious National MPs, not easy to do!

    Unfortunately his majority is 10,000 so he should be safe, Unless there is a big swing …

  2. Coleman seems to being doing his best to reduce that majority and induce a swing 😉

  3. Dan 3

    Tolley, Bennett, Brownlee, Coleman: the list is getting longer and more public. Radio NZ gone, night classes gone, national standards farce, mining of national parks. Time for a change!

    • Fisiani 3.1

      Duh Radio NZ is NOT gone
      Duh Night classes are NOT gone. (More than 900 this year at Wellington High School according to Dompost)
      Duh National Standards will be a force.
      Duh Surgical Mining of National Parks and a boost to Conservation. Win win.
      Duh We ARE getting the change we need after 9 wasted years.

      [lprent: Banned for two weeks. That should be sufficient time for you to educate yourself on how to leave links when you make assertions. I’m tired of reminding you. Remind me in two weeks to release the auto-moderation.

      I suspect that (from memory) dropping the budgets of night schools from 18 million to 3 million means that it is unlikely that any school would be able to increase their roll using that budget. In other words I think that you are lying – as you have before on this site.

      Hint – if you don’t know how to do links – then educate yourself – read the FAQ ]

      • Fisiani 3.1.1

        For goodness sake . I made not one assertion, Everything I wrote is a Fact.

        [lprent: Unsupported facts, which may have been extracted from your navel lint for all we know, ARE assertions. If you track back through the comments you’ve made, you’ve been repeatably requested by myself and others to provide links too support your assertions. You’ve chosen to ignore those requests.

        The standard on this site is that if you assert a Fact, then you can be requested to support your assertion with a link so others can examine what you’re looking at and to make their own determination about the validity of your source. This prevents people from just making crap up, and reduces the probability of flamewars that I have to suppress (see the policy to find out what I feel about flamewars). The other commentators have been very patient in requesting backup links from you and getting no response. That is because they know what I’ll eventually do. An educational ban.

        Don’t whine – take responsibility for your lack of reaction to relatively polite requests. ]

        • Bed Rater 3.1.1.1

          Haha.

          Good God, lprent, you’re not supposed to make it that obvious. Interesting you don’t step in with a heavy hand when those from the other end of the political spectrum make their emotional factless assertions.

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.1

            …those from the other end of the political spectrum make their emotional factless assertions.

            I think that you’re referring to people expressing opinions (ie ‘factless’) rather than asserting ‘facts’. It is the latter that need supporting links. The former has to be expressed as an opinion, and usually is. You’ll find other people expressing their opinions or countering/supporting with facts. That is discussion..

            However asserting a ‘fact’ and then not supporting it doesn’t help discussion at all. All it does is lead to noisy flaming.

            But you’re correct that there is a systematic bias over ‘facts’ – but not from the moderators – from the commentators. Those on the left do comply with the local standards more than those on the right. Sometimes the number of links that they provide are a bit over the top. That is why they are the ones that know the anti-spam limits for links on this site (eg travellev and others)

          • Jenny 3.1.1.1.2

            Hey Bed Wetter, this is just the sort of thing Iprent is trying to stop. Where are your links to prove your smear of bias in The Standard?

            Nowhere, that’s where.

        • Sam 3.1.1.2

          About time. Goodbye, amateur troll.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        Duh, Fisiani proving that he’s bought all the crap that NACT+MP have been saying without any critical thought.

        We’re not getting the change we need – we’re getting the change the owners wanted to line their pockets with our wealth. Funding being cut to RNZ is just the NACT+MP parties trying to pull the wool even further over our eyes so that we have an even harder time picking up the simple fact that they’re shafting us.

  4. illuminatedtiger 4

    Perhaps Coleman could get BAT to sponsor Concert FM.

  5. big bruv 5

    This is the sort of thing I want to see from the Nat’s, personally I would like them to sell RNZ completely but that is not going to happen during this term.

    No government (be it right, left or middle) has any place owning a radio station or a TV network.

    I must admit that I take great joy from seeing the way the left have reacted to the news that Radio left wing is under threat, mind you, it can be no more than you expected given the way the deck was stacked in your favour for the nine of the last ten years.

    At least Coleman is not going to pass a law that says RNZ cannot attack the government as Labour did during its last term.

    • Macro 5.1

      As usual you have NO IDEA of what you are talking about!

      eg
      “No government (be it right, left or middle) has any place owning a radio station or a TV network.”

      Show me a democratic govt that doesn’t have a impartial public broadcasting service, and I’ll show you a failed state. Ours has a clear charter of no political interference or bias.. Commercial broadcasters on the other hand have no such restrictions, and their news items are clearly the poorer for it.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        I’m sure you can substitute RNZ for BBC in the excerpt below and the argument in relation to the bias of state broadcasters remains unaltered.

        “In our research we consider the history, orientation and constitution of the BBC and hypothesise that one of the key constraints on its reporting can be accounted for by its organisational culture – it is essentially a liberal-nationalist organisation. The BBC’s job is to hold a “nation’ together, so the underlying presumption in its activity is that there is “a Britain’ and Britain is good. Right from the outset, the objective of the BBC was to inculcate a national culture, to “improve’ the minds and culture of “a people’, a natural duty of a national broadcaster. However, the concept of the nation in this instance has always been bound to a class perspective – consider, for example, that “regional’ (read: class) accents were forbidden until relatively recently. Foolish people consider the BBC to be the instrument of the government. It is not. It is the instrument of the state (regardless of which particular government is in power), which itself is developed around class interest. The BBC was set up to promote this particular class-bound vision.”

        (from part 2 of the link provided)

        http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/venezuela_and_the_bbc_-_part_1/

        • Classical Liberal 5.1.1.1

          When viewed through a “class based” lens then Coleman’s actions are understandable and will not be swayed by 17,000 let alone 1,700 Face Bookers.
          Again borrowing from the British context I’m sure Coleman is repeating the phrase first attributed to Harold McMillan – Yes it’s class war and we won!

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.1

            Jesus fucking christ I get sick and tired of dumb fucks like you CL.

            Did you actually read the words that followed on one from the other in either the quote or the article it was lifted from?

            The dominant class interests are promoted and reinforced through state media. That’s the same fucking class that Coleman belongs to.

      • Galeandra 5.1.2

        Don’t exercise yourself. BB is just a thick troll in search of a bridge to live under.

    • Cnr Joe 5.2

      such a good point
      the right managed to get elected even though this socialist mindwarper was so all controlling is it big bruv?
      9 years of thought control through gov fm was it?
      but somehow the erstwhile natsis gained the upper hand – a firm footing – and triumphed
      so why harry the vanquished big bruv? kick ’em when they’re down mm?

    • Lanthanide 5.3

      Is there any way to ignore comments from certain users? BB has just proved he’s nothing but a mindless troll.

  6. big bruv 6

    There are none so blind…..

    Have you ever really listened to Radio left wing with an open mind Marco? (actually, don’t answer that, of course you have not)

    Just because you happen to agree with most of what you hear on RNZ does not make it impartial.

    A government owning a broadcasting network is a very dangerous thing, I can well imagine how RNZ and TVNZ would have further come under the influence of Clark had she managed to con the people of NZ into a fourth term.

    We may agree on the quality of commercial broadcasters but that is not the issue, the public should not have to fund a radio station or TV network, that is for private enterprise, the owners of those companies are then free to put their own bias or spin on what ever they like, the public are the ones who will judge and that commercial enterprise will live and die by its ratings.

    I can see you are very angry about this Marco, get used to it, things are going to change over the next nine years, granted, they might not happen as fast as I would like but then as long as Labour keep going about being the opposition the way they currently are then I cannot see a time in the near future when you guys will ever get back the treasury benches.

    By that time I hope Key and the Nat’s have sold off the lot!

    • andy (the other one) 6.1

      Have you ever really listened to any radio station in NZ wing with an open mind BB? (actually, don’t answer that, of course you have not).

      BB the thing about Nat Radio that you miss is it was one of the only stations free to air that really put the acid on the previous government.

      They did the job other media couldn’t or didn’t. Would you be happy with the next government being a left wing coalition and no one to hold them to account, let me answer that for you, NO!!!!!!

      As much as you whine and whinge about it being ‘lefty’ with no actual proof of such, they play a vital role of holding all governments to account regardless of stripe.

      you happy with the $300 million spend on the Rugby world cup on behalf of the NZ tax payer?

      I suspect your idea of the NZ culture and identity is a silver fern flag and a steinlager branded t-shirt.

      Just to add I don’t listen in all that often.

      • big bruv 6.1.1

        andy (the other one)

        “you happy with the $300 million spend on the Rugby world cup on behalf of the NZ tax payer?”

        No I am bloody not!, if the rugby public or the NZRU want the RWC then they should bloody well pay for it themselves.

        Now Andy, can I ask you if you were happy that Labour gave 50 odd million for a bunch of millionaires to go charging around in boats?

        As for the flag, leave it as it is thanks, I despise the white feather on a black background that so many confuse as a silver fern.

        And give me a Guinness or Caffrey’s any day of the week over that crap called Steinlager.

    • Matt 6.2

      Why is it more dangerous for a government to own a radio station than it is for a corporation? I would have thought that at least with the government radio station a) it is owned by the people and b) there is transparency around its workings. I think Fox News is a good argument for all the RNZ, ABC, BBC, CBC’s around the world. Added to all that is the fact that you get decent quality broadcasting as well.

      (anti-spam word Owners)

  7. vto 7

    Why would making the station more like the stations that most New Zealanders listen to be dumbing it down?

    Are most New Zealanders dumber than you?

    • Matt 7.1

      No – but most radio stations are dumber than RNZ. Anyway, why can’t we have choice? Why does everything have to rush for the middle (of the road) ground?

    • The Voice of Reason 7.2

      Because they’re dumb, vto. I’m not being nasty about it, most stations do not pretend to be intelligent. Ever listened to the Rock? The Edge? Radio Live? They are not there to enhance, educate or uplift their listeners, they are there to sell advertising. I have no problem with that, but I want a choice.

      It’s not like I think RNZ is perfect. The whole ‘Radio New Zealand National’ debacle springs to mind. Not too many posts here using those wank words. But as I say, I want a choice and I choose RNZ.

    • Charlotte 7.3

      Dumbing down does not mean most New Zealanders are stupid. It means someone who is in charge of a TV/ radio station or a mag decides to put half witted content out there for us to “enjoy”‘ People relax differently. I personally like to be stimulated and not forced to listen to or read gossip. We shouldn’t have to use the internet to get a decent radio station. I choose to listen to BBC4 and BBC7 as I like plays and comedy. I also love listening to National radio(radio and internet if out of country) to hear interviews with a broad section of people on a huge variety of topics.

  8. Chris 8

    Up to 2300 fans on FB now.

  9. Bill 9

    The state, not the government owns radio nz ffs.

    Or you tguys hink each time there is a change in government that ownership papers are exchanged? How’s that work in an MMP environment?

  10. vto 10

    Does the government of New Zealand own a newspaper?

  11. I regret to admit that the wingnut theory that RNZ is a left wing bastion is unfortunately true.

    This is because it prefers evidence based analysis and calm discussion to reach a conclusion about issues.

    Wingnuts hate this. They prefer shouting and thumping of chests and think that if the rules were changed to allow their preferred behaviour to dominate they will do better and who cares about the rest and the environment.

    I am not surprised that Coleman and the wingnuts want to destroy RNZ. I just wonder why they took so long …

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      As was said prior to the election – if anyone knew what the right actually wanted they wouldn’t have been voted in. The whole point of National’s election campaign was to make themselves look like Labour only slightly different. The truth though, as people are starting to wake up to, is that they’re a bunch of right wing radicals that don’t have a single moral to share between them.

  12. vto 12

    yes well I listen to it I have to admit. And more than any other station. But sometimes all that talk drives me bananas.

    Anyways all the arguments are well known. However there no need to try to advance ones preferred argument by pilloring others. Trying to go forward by pulling others backwards has never been that successful. Just ask someone successful.

    Stop referring to it as dumbing down dumbos.

    • Armchair Critic 12.1

      “Stop referring to it as dumbing down…”
      I reckon it’s more about editorial independence and not being beholden to advertisers. The dumbing down line is unhelpful.

  13. Andy B 13

    OK. Is anyone aware of the Chomsky propaganda model? Cause that would dictate that corporations who own media (and if our public stations were sold off they would be owned by overseas corporations) are more likely to meddle in the editorial line of their media than a government. Because corporations inevitably have vested interests in other areas, they influence the news to their advantage by choosing editors who suit what they want and giving directives about what to say and not to say. A modern, Western, Capitalist democracy like ours should have a free to air, state funded (not govt funded because they are too different things) broadcasters because they are more likely to be objective. There is an official separation between the state and the media – the only link is funding through a non-political NZ on Air (which can be given directives by the govt – i.e. the TVNZ charter). This separation is particularly true in current affairs broadcasting. I’m sure any politician would be aware of the danger of trying to meddle with the media behind the scenes. (Its far better to run effective PR campaings like Brand-John-Key). The flak the both politicians and media would receive by meddling (and allowing to be meddled with) is not worth the risk. I’d certainly rather have broadcasters that were paid for by the people of NZ that have meaningful content that is important to us (including local content). I do not want a profit driven ‘free-to-air’ broadcaster, particularly in radio – which is a lifeline for many NZers. This would lead to a drop in local content because overseas-made content is so much cheaper – this would have greater societal effects such as a lost of collective knowledge of our past, of what is going on currently (think goodbye Te Karere and Q & A) and a loss of what being a NZer is all about. Media shapes us as a people (any form of media too – art, music, dance, as well as television and radio) and that doesn’t necessarily mean in any predetermined shape either. Remembering that the people who make TV in NZ are NZers expressing their own views about our culture (I’m excluding current affairs here).

    I’d be very disappointed if there was a drop in our already abysmal amount of local content. Sure, some of the stuff made here is crap, but who can deny the warm, fuzzy feeling one gets when you hear a NZ accent on TV in a well made drama about NZers (like the Cult for example).

    On the creation of identity:

    The question we must ask ourselves is “what is identity?” Because NZ doesn’t really have an identity (which is why we have race-relations issues etc.), which is due to our relative youth as a nation. What shapes our identity is a shared history and collective social inheritance. The media plays an important role in documenting and reminding us of our shared past as a nation. I don’t think that the media come in with any predetermined idea of what a NZer should ‘be’. The media (state-owned) show us ourselves and that is the most important thing in the creation of a national identity. They aren’t showing us an idealised NZer (I’m certainly not like anyone in Outrageous Fortune (which wasn’t produced by a state-owned but was still funded through NZ on Air)) – they’re simply holding up a mirror for us to look in.
    Without this mirror, NZers would become more disparate. We have nothing else to unite us as a nation outside the media – so we need to grab the opportunity and take it.

    If the govt pull funding for state-owned media, it will send everyone into dire straits – even the corporately funded stations because they also heavily rely on NZ on Air funding to produce programmes. (Let’s also not forget about the tens of regional stations that are struggling to stay alive!)

    So yes. It is the state’s job to fund media.

    • Lew 13.1

      Andy B,

      According to a pure reading of Chomsky and Herman’s model (pure inasmuch as it can be, given that the model applies to commercial media only), the government would be using the media to undertake ideological manipulation of the public, charter or no charter. This would be done via filters 1, 2, 3, and — since we’re a liberal democracy — 5. In fact, he would likely argue that this is what’s happening now — with the government of the day exerting power by controlling the filters. Read the model in the context of his “necessary illusions” thesis and you’ll see how it’s supposed to play out. With your talk about “uniting the nation” you’re essentially recognising that the media has to play this role for the state — it’s as Bill says upthread. I agree that it is, though, which is where I differ with Bill. but I’m not so sure Chomsky would. Also, I don’t buy what you’re selling about our national identity here. I think this is a case of failing to see the forest for the trees. Hint: the “race relations issues” are a function of our identity — and the aspects which make it up. And there’s plenty more to unpack in there.

      So, while it’s a certainty that in Chomsky’s world we’d be in worse shape without public broadcasting, but the model itself is not a public broadcasting charter except inasmuch as the government can be excluded from the picture — which it can never be, since it controls the filters to a significant extent.

      The trouble is that Chomsky overreaches, and the trouble with reading him is that he makes a very persuasive case and you tend to believe him. But it’s a little more complex and a little less perfect — less of a closed system — than he implies, and as a consequence the implications he draws are generally much more profound than they turn out to be in reality.

      After all, Fox just pissed off Sarah Palin. Beat that with a stick.

      L

      • Lew 13.1.1

        I agree that it is, though, which is where I differ with Bill.

        … should read “I agree that it [media as agent of national cohesion] is a generally desirable thing, though, which is where I differ with Bill.”

        L

        • Andy B 13.1.1.1

          Yes. I guess our race-relation issues (I mean tension between Pakeha and Maori over who owns what etc) are very much a part of our identity. However, surely the fact that we have race-relation problems exist would mean (in a completely exaggerated and over idealised sense) that we don’t identify strongly as NZers. I’m not saying that we need to become a homogeneous culture to eliminate race-relations – quite the opposite. The strongest part of our identity should be our diversity as a nation and showcasing our diversity as NZers should be one of the important media “as an agent for social cohesion” underpinning ideas.

          As for thinking the media is an instrument for the state to ‘unite people’ – I think maybe I see more autonomy in the media than other people do (maybe I’m wrong). I see the ‘media’ as a product of a group of people who each have their different views etc. Sure, they’re moderated by a whole lot of filters – including editorial line etc. But the people behind the media are also NZers. I don’t see this as some state machinery to manufacture a certain ‘type’ or NZer. I see it as more as people contributing to society by informing, challenging and entertaining. Not as some monolithic governmetal Ministry of Doublespeak – which is what some posters seem to think about State Owned media.

          My point by bring the Chomsky/Herman model in was to illustrate that ‘meddling’ would likely be worse under a corporate owned media. The model doesn’t apply to state owned media.

          Of course, in regard to Palin: with the amount of dislike of her that’s floating around the US (of course ignoring the crazy Tea Partiers who have had way too much coverage) its not surprising that Fox wanted to distance themselves from her. When I was in the US in Bush’s final term, everything felt a lot more hostile in politics and media than when I went back under Obama. People seem more accepting and nice now. I’m not kidding either (I’m talking about the people “on Main Street” not the politicians). It is often said that the President sets the tone of the nation. I was travelling through Republican central too (think polygamists and AK-47s for sale at service stations for $550). Obama seems to have changed the tone. It might have changed in the 8 months since I was there. But I’m going back (to Washington to meet politicians no less) in July so I can make some more observations then. – Anyway, that’s just conjecture and I’m sure you can pull me up on something in there! Haha.

          • Lew 13.1.1.1.1

            Andy,

            surely the fact that we have race-relation problems exist would mean (in a completely exaggerated and over idealised sense) that we don’t identify strongly as NZers.

            You don’t think the fact that the whitest honkey in England or elsewhere will, after a few beers, take off his shirt, climb up on the bar and butcher Ka Mate is a counterindication? You indicate that you’ve travelled overseas: have you not seen how people don’t really reify their identity until they feel like it’s under threat? Perhaps you’ve not been part of an expat community — those are a different kettle of fish to lone travellers.

            I don’t see this as some state machinery to manufacture a certain ‘type’ or NZer.

            Completely agree. There’s nothing necessarily purposive about it, but this sort of cohesion is inevitable.

            My point by bring the Chomsky/Herman model in was to illustrate that ‘meddling’ would likely be worse under a corporate owned media. The model doesn’t apply to state owned media.

            It doesn’t apply in Chomsky and Herman’s work, but that isn’t to say that it can’t. I’m arguing it does, and Coleman’s attempt to exert control over RNZ is an example of filters 1 and arguably 2 in action (and possibly 5, depending on how you view it). No contest whatever to the claim that it would be worse under a commercial model — that’s the whole point of opposing it (which I do).

            Of course, in regard to Palin: with the amount of dislike of her that’s floating around the US (of course ignoring the crazy Tea Partiers who have had way too much coverage) its not surprising that Fox wanted to distance themselves from her.

            Hmm, see, this is a Chomskyesque reading, in that it presumes perfect awareness of and control over all dimensions of a media-political event. I don’t think it’s a purposeful attempt to piss off Palin, and certainly not an attempt by Fox to distance themselves from her. At present, she’s almost their biggest political asset.

            L

  14. vto 14

    pheewww, you said lots of things there andy b.
    Like “Because NZ doesn’t really have an identity … … which is due to our relative youth as a nation.” That doesn’t quite follow does it?

    • Andy B 14.1

      How doesn’t it follow? As I defined identity (and its how I think it should be defined) we don’t have much of an identity because we don’t have a long (I mean multiple hundreds of years) as a nation. And we also don’t have large nationalistic propaganda machines like the US does – even though that country is relatively young. Sure, a long collective history is only part of our identity – but it is one thing that we lack. Much of our history is made up of two sides (Pakeha and Maori) fighting one another – as British and Maori. We aren’t a nation of New Zealanders yet. We are increasingly becoming so though. My generation (which is Y or Z depending on the dates you consult) feels as though we are more New Zealanders than a lot of older people (who might more strongly identify as Pakeha/European or Asian or Maori or Pasifika or whatever). Of course, this is based on my own observations alone. The generational gap in identity was demonstrated really well when my grandmother an I were talking about nationhood. I said that I was a NZer and she swiftly replied to me that I was British – not a NZer. I was a bit like WTF? Excuse me? Just because you moved from Britain to NZ when you were 13 does not make me British!

      Sure, this is a huge generalisation and this might be an exception to the rule, but this (amongst other things – such as a reluctance to become a republic or to change the flag) shows me that we are yet to have a strong national identity.

      Anyway, this is completely off topic.

      As I said before, media play an important role in forming that identity amongst us. Which is not to say that they dictate what a NZer is – but that they show us what we are – in reality.

  15. “We have nothing else to unite us as a nation outside the media so we need to grab the opportunity and take it.”

    If by unite us you’re talking about the mechanism, then sure the media, inclusive of new media, does that. That’s what media is, a medium for delivery, a means of communicating and transmitting a message. But whats a mediums worth if it doesnt have something worth communicating, a message to unite, a call to arms as it were or if that message is skewed too far left, right, overclass, underclass, black, white, yadda yadda ?…not much if you ask me.

    Shooting the messenger is the thing that immediately springs to mind. It might make you feel good but it doesnt change the message. For what its worth i dont listen to traditional radio at all. I think it’s obsolete and serves no function that web based new media 2.0 and freeview digital TV cant deliver more effectively.

    As to what defines identity, i’d say values. NZ’ers inclusive of native polynesians have evolved shared values which dont neccessarily reflect those of our former colonial or polynesian settlers or those of the many immigrants since and that process of evolving cultural values is a work in progress, with the preferred media for transmission of those values yet to be selected.

    watch this space as it were 🙂

  16. gobsmacked 16

    Let’s try another tack. Put things in terms the right-wingers might actually grasp: dollars and cents.

    Goal: Wealthier nation. Agreed?

    As demonstrated by: OECD rankings. Agreed? (well, they go on about it enough)

    So perhaps those who mindlessly parrot “state has no business in broadcasting” could kindly tell us which of the countries above NZ in the OECD do NOT have public TV and/or radio. The USA, arguably (but even they spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars on it, every year). Others? Europe? Japan? Canada? Come on, tell us all about these wealthy successful free nations who reject public broadcasting. Evidence, please.

    Here’s an example to get you started. Stupid foreigners, stupid investment in informed and educated population, so inevitably they must slide into poverty …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YLE

    *checks OECD rankings again*

    Oh. Damn.

  17. “Here’s an example to get you started.”

    So are you advocating a licensing fee as Finland does to subsidise public broadcasts ? Hah…try that and see how far you’ll get.

    Finland isnt wealthy because they have a publicly funded broadcasting corporation. They’re wealthy mainly cos of Nokia. Which if they decided could replace trad radio to only broadcast online and recievable via cellphone.

    • gobsmacked 17.1

      Finland is wealthy because of investment in public good, including education, of which broadcasting is just one small part. (And as I said, just one example – we can talk Norway or Denmark or Germany or … take your pick. It’s not a coincidence, investing in the brain actually works).

      As for Nokia, in NZ it would have been sold to Australians at a bargain price, and the jobs and profits shipped overseas. No long-term vision, just today’s quick buck.

    • pollywog 17.2

      “Finland isnt wealthy because they have a publicly funded broadcasting corporation. They’re wealthy mainly cos of Nokia.”

      Nokia is a public limited liability company listed on the Helsinki, Frankfurt, and New York stock exchanges.[9] Nokia plays a very large role in the economy of Finland; it is by far the largest Finnish company, accounting for about a third of the market capitalization of the Helsinki Stock Exchange (OMX Helsinki) as of 2007, a unique situation for an industrialized country.[12] It is an important employer in Finland and several small companies have grown into large ones as its partners and subcontractors.[13] Nokia increased Finland’s GDP by more than 1.5% in 1999 alone. In 2004 Nokia’s share of the Finnish GDP was 3.5% and accounted for almost a quarter of Finland’s exports in 2003.[14]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia

      🙂

  18. kinto 18

    Quick someone call Matthew Hooten, the gubbrmint is trying to shut down the free press!

    …oh wait thats right, it’s ok when they do it… move on people

  19. Armchair Critic 19

    It’s only free press when it is owned by a small, wealthy elite, preferably with vested interests.
    When it is owned by the people of NZ via a democratically elected government, who give day to day responsibility for running it to a board of directors and management team it is, of course, a propaganda machine to be destroyed. Or sold.

  20. Pat 20

    David Slack (I think) was on TV1 this morning saying RNZ has 500,000 listeners a day. That is 1 in 8 NZers.

    Assuming that that figure is correct, then this would make RNZ probably the most listened to station in NZ. In which case, demand for limited advertising space would be at a premium.

    I haven’t yet seen a strong argument why RNZ should turn away such a revenue source.

    • Lew 20.1

      Pat, because it would contradict the charter — not only the text of the charter, which says it must be ad-free, but the point of the charter, which is that the station must remain independent and not beholden to the needs of advertisers.

      Also, there’s a cross-subsidisation model at work: Morning Report, Checkpoint and to a lesser extent Nine to Noon and the latter segment of Afternoons (The Panel) command the largest weekday audiences, permitting resources to be dedicated to charter programming which might not otherwise merit production (but which nevertheless provides a public good). The fact that it’s the hard-news shows which yield most of the audience means that, to exploit the content commercially, time would need to be taken from the station’s most critical function — being NZ’s news of record — and given over to advertising. By usual standards, this would result in 10-20% less air time dedicated to news — between six and twelve minutes per hour less to keep New Zealanders informed about their country. Just based on the numbers, that’s as clear an attack on the station’s role of holding the powerbrokers of the country to account as can be imagined.

      And if you like, I can go on for a while about the difference between short-form and long-form news, particularly interviews, and how the good oil tends to come late in the piece — so by cutting the last 30-90 seconds off each news interview you actually cause more than just the 10-20% of damage to the news value of reporting than the time cut might suggest.

      L

      • Pat 20.1.1

        Change the charter, allow limited advertsing in terms of time (say max 8 mins per hour) which will command a premium in price, and put restrictions on the type/style of advertising (e.g. no presenter/advertiser conversation/endorsements). You have not convinced me that this will reduce “the station’s role of holding the powerbrokers of the country to account” (nor am I sure if this is in the charter or just your interpretation of its role).

        • lprent 20.1.1.1

          I’m uninterested in listening to ads. It wastes my time. It took me long enough to even agree to have ads on this site, and they’re passive (and load after the content).

          • Pat 20.1.1.1.1

            I don’t like ads, either. Could the taxpayer please pay for RNZ to provide the cricket commentary so I don’t have to listen to ads during the cricket coverage. After all, it’s NZ’s national summer sport.

        • Lew 20.1.1.2

          Pat, if a 15% reduction in the amount of air time dedicated to hard news programming (plus the attendant need to keep advertisers happy, with its well-known impacts on editorial policy) won’t convince you, then nothing will.

          Perhaps, since I’ve explained my case and have the numbers on my side (100% – 15% = 85% < 100%, for starters), you could explain how you think it would have no impact?

          L

          • Pat 20.1.1.2.1

            Lew – correct me if I’m wrong: your beef (and others I have read here) is that limited advertising will result in less time for RNZ to delve deeply into polticial issues, ipso facto, the government has less accountability.

            But RNZ does far more than political coverage. Most of its day is spent on (IMO) rather more dreary topics. If political issues are such an important function for RNZ, then they would be spending more time on them and less on others. Also they would give a greater budget weighting to poltical researchers and top-quality interviewers/presenters. Additional income from advertising would help this, not hinder it. But the reality is that being “NZ’s news of record” does not place politics as its No 1 priority, depsite the wishes of Poli-watchers.

            For me the independance argument has more validity when it relates to advertising. It’s a longer bow nowadays but history (and China!) shows the importance of journalism being free of political interference. Similarly, the argument is that advertising will lead to commercial interference. I’m not entirely convinced but then I don’t buy into Business=Bad, Class War and other such slogans. Many people do, however, so I would concede that advertising would only give the conspiracy theorists something to hang on to. So in that respect I concede it would be better for the nation’s broadcaster to be seen to be free from interference.

            However, that does not mean RNZ should become the untouchables. Empire building is a natural human condition and RNZ needs to remain open to public scrutiny as to how they spend taxpayers money, particularly with staff numbers and salaries. Also much of RNZ’s programming seems to stem from tradition than necessarily adapting to changing times and demographics. I don’t see a lot of programming targeting Generation Y and Z. Which makes RNZ no different to any other radio station – it is tailoring its programming to its core demographic.

            • felix 20.1.1.2.1.1

              Actually Pat, my objection to “limited advertising” is that there’s no such thing – not for long, anyway.

              And before you say “legislate the amount” – we already have. Zero. And you want to push that boundary out. Do you expect me to believe that will be the end of the matter?

              Either you are so naive as to think the pressure to continue pushing the boundary will dissipate once you define an acceptable “limited” amount or you are being disingenuous with your intentions.

            • lprent 20.1.1.2.1.2

              Personally I think that your argument is deeply flawed. As far as I can tell over the longer term, there is direct inverse correlation between the time spent on ads and the level of intelligence in broadcasting.

              I have some codicils to that observation at the bounds. But lets look at that one first…

              As a side issue to that, as the level of intelligent broadcasting falls, after a long delay period, so does the audience. The radio audience has been falling for years relative to the population, however national radio keeps increasing their audience. People migrate away from mindless drivel…

              If you want to completely flatline listening to radio in NZ – then your proposal is the correct one…

      • Sonny Blount 20.1.2

        I would expect sponsorhip would be the first option rather than running ads. Such as with the NZSO or NZ Opera.

        • Pat 20.1.2.1

          I would prefer sponsorship money went to charities rather than a radio station.

          • Sonny Blount 20.1.2.1.1

            I would agree with you Pat. But this is the point of the discussion, as a fan of RNZ I can see that its funding must be evaluated amongst other priorities.

            Would you also prefer the government funding went into the fields these charities operate in rather than radio?

    • felix 20.2

      TVNZ.

  21. randal 21

    cut to the chase.
    this government just wants to prevent any argument or discussion on its policies and drawing rnz fangs would be a major move.
    RNZ doesn’t get everything right but at least it tries.
    National would prefer the national discourse to be discussed on radio squawkback by rabid idiots with attention span deficits and all its decisons made in private with no discussion whatsoever reducing the country to a collection of majoritarian outcomes, pinhead policies and no dissent whatsoever.

    • Bill 21.1

      I think what you say would be the result, but I don’t think the government is thinking that way.

      But trashing RNZ is all ideology. Market, market, market.

      It requires no thought whatsoever, just adherence to the oft- repeating of the correct mantras and the ability to walk in lock step with your leader. Which is not to say there are no intelligent cynics in the Nat ranks salivating over possible rewarding business outcomes.

      Just that viewed as a whole this government has to be viewed and treated as a cult with a couple of charismatic leading lights….not a rational thinking entity.

      • Macro 21.1.1

        Today Bill English gave a long interview with Kathryn Ryan on 9 to noon on the economy the tax changes and how he saw various measures may or may not be implemented. No way would sqwarkback give him that time or the opportunity for a reasoned debate. So how come these people can’t see what a valuable treasure this RNZ is?
        I’m not saying I agreed with English – not at all – all I’m saying is – he had the opportunity to talk about his position and the way ahead as he saw it. It’s VITAL. To say they need to shut down between midnight and 6 am or open up to commercial sponsorship is ludicrous.
        Then again maybe Kathryn could have said:
        “the following interview is sponsored by the Treasury”.

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