Kill your television

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, December 10th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: culture, Media, national/act government - Tags: , ,

So the Nats have decided to kill public service television broadcasting:

TVNZ’s charter is to be repealed in a move commentators say will end its public broadcaster role and turn it into a “cash cow” for the Government.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman introduced a bill yesterday to repeal the charter, which was created by Labour in 2002 to require TVNZ to broadcast a wide range of programmes for all groups in New Zealand. … The head of the Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic, Paul Norris, said the change effectively gave TVNZ the go-ahead to act as a fully commercial broadcaster, screening the most commercial programmes it could find.

Marvellous! Not. Where is the upside in this move? It’s not as if there is a shortage of fully commercial stations. It removes the last vestiges of public service broadcasting from the main channels. It weakens our culture and our national identity. Although the charter funding has gone to NZ on Air, with no market / TV broadcaster it can only damage the local film and television industry, costing jobs and destroying infrastructure. This seems to be yet another completely stupid policy born of blind ideology.


[I haven’t owned a (working) TV for a decade. Life’s too short. Join the revolution – kill your television]

18 comments on “Kill your television”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Thank god I don’t actually watch television. Having it become even more worthless as the state service that it should be would be depressing otherwise.

  2. Chess Player 2

    “This seems to be yet another completely stupid policy born of blind ideology.”

    Ah, no, this is just clean up from the previous govt that thought that you could make people watch TV that was ‘good for them’, and somehow the tv provider would also make a profit.

    The only credible media models are either ‘wholly Public’ or ‘wholly Private’.

    National have chosen 1 of the 2 practical choices available, as opposed to continuing to support a hybrid, that was never going to work properly.

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.1

      The only credible media models are either ‘wholly Public’ or ‘wholly Private’

      Dead right. Yet Coleman’s Bill isn’t killing this double-headed llama* either, it’s just poutting a carrot in front of one half and watching the other half die of starvation.

      What a pity no one in Labour had the gumption to sell TV2 and create a proper independent public broadcaster like the ABC when they had the chance. By the time they inherit this mess, my bet is it’ll be so knackered they’ll sell it off for a quick buck. And sadly, no one will care.

      * Ref Doctor Dolittle. The proper one, with Rex Harrison not that abomination with Eddie “I just shriek at the top of my voice in every role” Murphy.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Actually, to be a decent public broadcaster I think TVNZ still needs two channels. One on history and one on political economy. Or you could break it down to national and international. Just get rid of the entertainment/infotainment on it and it’ll be worth something.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Tsk, Draco, you’re like soooooo 90s 😛

          Digital will give them plenty of scope for multiple channels. The ABC is currently running 3 – ABC 1 simulcast on analog, ABC 2 digital only (with a mix of new programming, stuff that wasn’t succesfful enough on ABC 1 but still has an audeince, and repeast of top rating ABC 1 stufff for those that missed it, and ABC 3, a dedicated kids-only channel.

          I’d retain TVNZ 6 & 7 of course, and hopefully they could develop a couple more – at least one of which would be a community TV operation, but with professional standards (i.e. one that people would actually watch).

          • Uroskin

            “One of which would be a community TV operation, but with professional standards (i.e. one that people would actually watch”

            Auckland’s community TV station Triangle TV is watched by between 250,000 and 400,000 people a month

      • Scribe 2.1.2

        “Double-headed llama”?!?!

        Don’t you mean a puhsmepullyou?

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Yeah, but my concern that the yunguns would think Eddie Murphy before they thought Rex Harrison (whose namesake I am, I might add) meant I went for the more understandable-in-context “two headed llama” for fear of losing them entirely, Scribe.


      • prism 2.1.3

        Hear, hear RW.

  3. tc 3

    TVNZ is as much a public broadcaster as Paul Henry’s is a modest individual with a very humble outlook and tiny ego.

    They fought the charter as if it was poison and have diversified appallingly with digital and web ventures that crash and burn…..TiVo being the latest.

    Coleman’s formalising where TVNZ have been for decades……….now have the guts to sell them Johnny before the dinosaur industry known as TV is totally worthless.

    I’m sure there plenty of NACT mates who want a slice of that cake.

  4. Deus ex Machina 4

    Ho hum. TVNZ forfeited any claim to be the Nation’s broadcaster long ago and the Charter never was any more than a fig-leaf for the public funds it received. There is virtually nothing on TVNZ that I can be bothered to watch and even less that is worth watching and it could be flogged off tomorrow without troubling me in the slightest.

  5. Irascible 5

    What for the public auction of TVNZ and welcome FOX News to NZ as the privatisation agenda of the NACT govt surges into actual legislation.

  6. randal 6

    anti-spam= threat
    how apposite.
    TVNZ may be a dog but its our dog.
    thinking about fox news and the plastic people of the universe gives me the yips and the screaming heebeejeebees so I better stop here.

  7. tc 7

    yes Randal it is our dog but it’ll never be anything like a public broadcaster so like all responsible owners we should put it down.

    • Tigger 7.1

      Or we could have slipped on a leash, taught it how to stop biting people and fed it some nice food, patted it, brushed it and improved the Charter so it actually worked properly. I was never a fan of the Charter as it was, too messy, too many expectations on it. But if we’d expected TV One to be a public broadcaster and let TV2 do what it wanted then things might have been different.

      National will now just let it run off and do what it wants, within two years there is literally no one who will see it as ‘public’ and voila, sold.

      I wish Coleman didn’t have such a hard-on for SKY, then he would realise that it’s a venal operator, giving us a B grade pay TV service. He thinks its a success. It’s only a success because it’s a monopoly. It’s certainly not a great pay operator, no original content. It’s a leech. But it’s what Coleman wants TVNZ to emulate. It’s like telling your daughter to become a hooker. Yes, she’ll make money but she’ll lose her soul doing it.

  8. Santi 8


    I’d say not only ditch the charter, but also sell the bloody lot to whoever wants to buy TVNZ’s assets.

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