Labour’s broadcasting policy: public service TV-RNZ

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, August 31st, 2014 - 39 comments
Categories: democratic participation, election 2014, greens, internet, internet mana party, labour, news, radio, same old national, tv - Tags:

I’ve been at the Broadcasting debate in Auckland tonight, organised by the Coalition for Better Broadcasting.  There was strong support from most of the speakers for public service broadcasting to be reformed and/or strengthened in NZ.  For the parties of the left particularly, the manipulations exposed by Dirty Politics has intensified many people’s desire for for a new version of public service media.  This is necessary to ensure democracy thrives.

Speakers

The biggest news at the debate was that Labour will be setting up a new public service TV channel if they lead the next government.

Kris Faafoi’s idea is to locate it with RNZ.  Tracy Martin said NZ First already had such a policy on their website. Actually, further questioning showed there was a difference. NZ First want to bring RNZ and TVNZ together.

RNZ

  • Combine Television New Zealand (TVNZ) and Radio New Zealand under one state-owned enterprise known as New Zealand Broadcasting (NZB), modelled on similar public broadcasting systems overseas, and with clear aims that include promoting our nation’s unique qualities, and the coverage of significant national events.

  • Re-establish a non-commercial public service free-to-air channel with a concentration on quality programming based on the TVNZ 7 model.

Faafoi said that TVNZ and RNZ have totally different cultures, so they couldn’t be integrated.

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Labour wants to locate their new public service TV channel with the long established values of RNZ.

Labour’s broadcasting policy

  • Establish a working group to report on funding options to re-establish a Public Service Television Station.

  • Continue its strong commitment to the New Zealand content sector and a platform for free-to-air regional TV.

  • Work alongside the media industry to set up a new omnibus self-regulatory standards body to cover all media complaints and standards issues.

More details here.  This includes:

Labour will:
establish a working group to report on funding options and the cost of re-establishing a commercial Public Service Television Station paralleling and probably within Radio New Zealand(RNZ).

[…]

ring fence television spectrum for regional and public broadcast

[…]

support the development of Pasifika television content to ensure its ongoing production and availability.

[…]

investigate, as part of our wider commitment to public broadcasting, and set a timeline for the establishment of a Pasifika television channel to celebrate our talentsand diversity.

Julie Anne Genter said that the idea of a new channel located with RNZ, would be something the Greens would be open to exploring.

Genter also produced this great line, which Miriam Prieard included in a tweet:

Genter said we need good public service broadcasting to achieve the Green Party election priorities of a fairer society, a smarter economy and a clean environment. She said we need a proper non-commercial TV channel with adequate funding.

Laila Harre focsed strongly on industrial relations: many of the problems we have now with the media and journalism are due to the demise of collective bargaining.

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With collective bargaining a collective sense of professionalism develops. This produces a team environment, with senior journalists supporting and mentoring junior journalists.  This helps to develop and protect professional standards.

She also had an idea of providing funding for regionally based journalists to enable them to do the necessary research and analysis. And talked of the paper produced during Helen Clark’s term in government that proposed a public service radio network. It got sabotaged by commercial interests and Clark gave up on it.

The speakers also showed a strong understanding that broadcasting of the future will be integrated with digital and online capabilities.

Colin Craig talked in general about having good quality broadcasting for all New Zealanders, but was short on practicalities.  He did say there were funding limitations.  I felt he did Kiwi talent down by saying it wasn’t possible to produce good quality programmes here for children – eg of the quality of Dora the Explorer. He also wanted some sort of gateway to the Internet, where adults would have the capability to let children through.

Maggie Barry defended the abolition of TVNZ 6 and 7, saying it was all Labour’s fault: they had set the channels up only to be funded for a short period, and would also have axed them if they’d stayed in government.

The most heated response came from the audience when Barry responded to a question about the Dirty Politics of National and its allies.  She resorted to a diversionary tactic, saying the dirtiest politics in NZ was Kim Dotcom, a non Kiwi with a dubious/criminal past, funding a New Zealand political party.

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It was a very interesting evening, with some good ideas expressed about ways to achieve a better, more democratic NZ media.

 Update: RNZ report

National Party MP Maggie Barry and Internet Party leader Laila Harre clashed head-on at a public meeting last night, with personal insults flying in each direction.

RNZ report

The clip also reports on Faafoi talking about sustainable funding for the public service TV channel and RNZ; on the Greens policy for a minimum level of free to air children’s TV, and on NZ First’s support for free to air broadcasting of major sports events.

Martyn Bradbury asks a question, Maggie Barry and Laila Harre respond.

39 comments on “Labour’s broadcasting policy: public service TV-RNZ”

  1. weka 1

    I agree with Labour, the cultures of TVNZ and RNZ are too different to merge. I would also be concerned that such a merger would leave RNZ more vulnerable to influence and possible privatisation later. Which brings up the question of how Labour’s idea of RNZ/TV would be Tory-proofed.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      The culture at TVNZ needs to be remade from the ground up. No one in that building should be on over $500K pa. The monies saved need to be ploughed back into journalism and news reporting.

      • S 1.1.1

        My view is TVNZ is to toxic to be saved. The best thing to do would be to sell it off for whatever you can get, minus it’s frequencies and name. Then rebuild public TV from the ground up on the same channels and name but with a completely different organisation and culture.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          It’s probably not worth much without it’s frequencies.

        • millsy 1.1.1.2

          I doubt that there is anything at TVNZ worth selling (apart from the frequencies).

          25 years ago, it had a transmission network, studios in the all the main centres, (and in Hamilton, as I understand the history books) a drama production unit, a doco unit, a sports unit, a childrens TV unit, and much more.

          Now all it has is is a building in Auckland and a few media studies graduates that do live crosses in the middle of the night. If you want an example of asset stripping, you need to look at our broadcaster. It has outsourced and sold off most of its.,,,pretty much everything.

          The years 1 April 1975 to 30 June 1989 are/will be agreed by most media historians as broadcasting’s golden age in this country. We had a wide range of content, from news to current affairs, documentaries, drama, comedy, satire, childrens TV (Colin Craig would have been brought up with Play School, Spot On, 3:45! Live, After School, What Now? and the likes, all childrens shows vastly superior to Dora the Explorer, which seems to be targeted at a US Hispanic audience). TVNZ/South Pacific TV/TV1/TV2 litterally made something for everyone. And the reigons were well covered.

          We may have only had two channels and bugger all radio stations, but the quality was better.

          • weka 1.1.1.2.1

            Or let TVNZ generate revenue for the govt as a commercial station and use that to fund public broadcasting. At least in the interim.

      • Ron 1.1.2

        We need a public trust createf a bit like The Guardian. Trustees could be appointed for 10 years and with some consensus from public. They need a guaranted funding based on a public ratio maybe a multiple of the PM’s salary. It must have a charter that dictates quality programming for both radio and TV arms. We want the best of breed for on air staff not middle aged women pretending to be teenagers by using vocal fry on every word. Heard Ryan lately?
        Out also should have sufficient capital that it can experiment and Terry new ideas. We need digital radio now. We need free view boxes wiith CAM slots so that the new channel can have a public pay channel.
        Above all keep the pollies hands away from it.

    • adam 1.2

      Seeing as there are no right wing trolls – I’ll do the trolling.

      How to Tory-proof public broad casting? A armed workforce with open carry rights. Guns for everyone. That way people being interviewed knowing a gun is not very far away, and employment relations can get back to a even footing. Indeed claymores at the entrance so any Minister or MP who talks about privatisation can take collective load of shot on the way out. Heat seeking missiles, not sure what for – but they go boom.

      What we need is a change in mind set away from neo-liberalism – it really is a failed ideology. It has become nothing more than dogma. NZ now feels like some recreation of the cultural revolution. John Key the happy leader, telling kiwis what to think, and purging all who oppose him, by any means necessary.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Work alongside the media industry to set up a new omnibus self-regulatory standards body to cover all media complaints and standards issues.

    /facepalm

    30 years of getting rid regulations and leaving it to the market and self-regulation and they haven’t learned a bloody thing. Such a body would be just as ineffective as the one we have now. We’d need a statutory body with teeth enforcing real regulations and standards.

    • tc 2.1

      Start by looking at the acts Oz use for abc and SBS and factor in how abbotts crew are now interferring into any design.

      they are altering the independence starting by stacking the board that oversees appointments and slashing the funding….sound familiar.

    • Sanctuary 2.2

      +1 LIKE

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3

      +1

      • Tigger 2.3.1

        +100 – when did the BSA last uphold a meaningful complaint? A self-regulator can be effective if designed properly.

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1

          there always needs to be the final step of official governmental sanction, if the self regulator does not do its job. Strong public and governmental representation within the self-regulation process is a must any way. Its the only way to keep the industry on its toes.

    • Tracey 2.4

      Self regulation means media manipulation by the wealthiest

  3. disturbed 3

    Thanks for the cover of this important event Karol, I do apologise for delving into my fight down below but using it as an example of how important public media is it is a useful effort for you.

    Weka made a good point

    “Which brings up the question of how Labour’s idea of RNZ/TV would be Tory-proofed.”

    Christ we have to make a constitutional document to achieve this and it is about time we did have a constitution like many others have.

    Such a part of that constitution could be a clause stating that a Public service radio and TV service would remain available in perpetuity for providing a voice for all community social public purposes.

    To give an example here of the importance of public media services;

    We have been fighting this Government to save our Gisborne rail service now mothballed and no current media wants to bullhorn our cause, so when we have a public service with regional journalistic integrity this could help our cause to save the rail before the rails are chopped up and used for a cycle track.

    Rail would lower greenhouse emission’s and protect residential suburban communities from truck noise vibrations and air pollution.

    This whole subject was over ridden by Joyce/Brownlee using MSM to brainwash the country against us all and we never had any media to fight back with.

    • karol 3.1

      That pretty much gets int what Julie Anne Genter said as quoted in my post. Some asked about how public service broadcasting, including a new TV channel, would be funded. Genter said something about it being central to democracy.

      To say we can’t afford public broadcasting is like saying we can’t afford to hold elections

      It’s that essential to democracy, that it must be maintained at a sustainable level, and be independent of vested interests.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Genter is OK with that comment but she also misses the point.

        Put another way:

        How well are your new public broadcasting channels going to fare through 3 terms of Tory budget cuts, privatisations and attacks?

  4. disturbed 4

    I will cast the issue of this discussion of how to future proof public media back to 1998 when I was sitting on a beach in eastern USA listening to RNZ on Short wave, and heard that the National Government was considering closing down the RNZ network stations entirely.

    I was horrified as then it was my only link to my country of birth and thought as of right a Kiwi has an overseas news service as all other countries did of a news media always available.

    Short wave radio is a freedom of revenue service from wherever one comes from.

    That should my previous belief in the National Government as a Political force for the people of the country as the term Nation implies.

    Our position is we need to begin to form a constitution with similar statutes as USA has of all rights under their constitution and one can be as I said on my last blog,

    “Such a part of that constitution could be a clause stating that a Public service radio and TV service would remain available in perpetuity for providing a voice for all community social public purposes.”

  5. Paul 5

    Marcus Lush on Radio Live this morning explaining how the privatisation of the media has affected its ke quality. (Around 6.55 a.m.)
    Seems like there’s a mood for change…

  6. tc 6

    So the Nats sent maggie Barry and her bag of slogans to show they care, isn’t she a lusk/slater candidate ?

    TVNZ should have the foundations however it’s been compromised and looted since it removed all it’s production capability and embarked on a commercial agenda.

    Strip it down into a more profitable entity as any muppett can read an auto cue so start with the expensive script readers and wasted upper and middle management, you’d be surprised how many millions annually are blown there before we look at such flops as TiVo.

    • karol 6.1

      Maggie Barry used a lot of words to say very little of substance: and she said it with unwarranted confidence. She was about little change for the National Party’s broadcasting policy (or it’s anti-broadcasting policy). She claimed RNZ was great as it is and was in good heart.

      She was all corporate speak: making a “business case” for whatever, and having a broadcasting summit to get some ideas about what the public want from broadcasting. Summit to me means a top down talk fest.

      Others talked about real flax roots consultation with the public.

  7. Once Was Tim 7

    All good comments above …. I see this as a good FIRST step.
    I’m concerned that issues surrounding stacking boards through political appointments (a la ABC and SBS, and now even BBC) are not effectively addressed;
    NOR is the SKY monopoly and cosy TVNZ relationship – which serves to drive up content prices;
    and NOR has the fact that EVERY NZer is entitled to access the content that appears on channels such as Heartland and Kidzone24,
    As for funding, Peter Thompson of Vic Uni, and others who used to attend the Save TVNZ7 meetings offered viable options that operate elsewhere.
    A good FIRST step, hopefully in the first year.
    I see no reason why the NZ Public of 4.5 million can’t have a channel such as proposed, as well as Kids and Heartland type channels, as well as a youth oriented radio network, as well as regional interests being catered for.
    Part of TVNZs problem – cultural and cost – is partisan dead wood hacks on over-inflated salaries who (even when a charter existed) were more concerned about delivering a ‘return’ than they were catering for its audience.
    /endrave
    ( I get very frustrated when talking about PSB in NZ because its something that’s been fucked around with over and over, over many many years by politicians and self-interested hacks). I wish I’d been able to attend the Auckland event.

    • karol 7.1

      Kris Faafoi was talking about the new channel with RNZ as a first step – one that involves building a framework around which to develop public broadcasting.

      Some in the room (I think by or agreed to by Greens, Labour, Mana) talked about the importance of getting shows on freeview that are currently on the Sky platform.

      Faafoi and others talked about making such public broadcasting financially sustainable. ie so that it could continue indefinitely with the funding it needs.

      I thought Harre had some very good ideas about re-building journalism and the media in such a way as a pub;ic interest culture is built into – with a system grounded in the regions, and through the collaborative approach that comes with a unionised media workforce.

      Edit:There may be a video of the debate coming online. There was a video camera at the back of the room. Martyn Bradbury live tweeted from the event, and said a video will be up soon.

      • Once Was Tim 7.1.1

        Thank you Karol.
        When I met Grant Robertson 2 or 3 weeks ago whilst he was door knocking, he alluded to this upcoming announcement. He also agreed with some of the fundamental issues I have (and still have). Issues around funding are very important, however to solve them – they’re actually going to require (pardon the expression) ‘balls’ – not token gestures that allow partisan cliquey overpaid hacks to continue on as they are. I’m picking Faafoi is well aware of the people I mean – often only present on the grounds of longevity and their ability to arse-lick, spin, and come across ‘reasonable’. (they’re like a Joyce to an ardent Natzis mind). Bype tw Chris – I mean the hacks – not you, but you do really need to offer this as a “rome was’t built in a day” type approach

        The issue of constant tampering with PSB is very serious – and probably not to hard to resolve (e.g, an umbrella PSB organisation with CEO and SNR Management/Board Members are appointed by a panel comprised of cross-party/all party representatives & community reps …. JUST one idea – I’m not a constitutional expert though I had been considering options such as part of a GG/or President’s mandate requiring such representation. The power of veto is probably one of the most powerful means of sanctioning the anti/undemocratic – even tho’ it does contribute to a democracy being cumbersome – IT IS INTENDED TO BE just that way.

        You know – TVNZ is munted and Chris has concerns about amalgamation because the organisational ‘cultures’ are incompatible.
        …… CHANGE the culture by whatever it takes FFS! It’s a publicly owned enterprise – either that, or don’t feign concern.

        RNZ is under threat (by the very mechanism we’re all concerned about – SEE ABOVE and CHANGE it!

        The umbrella organisation I envisage is one that acts in the public interest, manages the finances derived from the public – and any other SOE/COE enterprise. (We own airwaves, just as we own air and water, and we have a right to determine what’s recieved, what is emanated in our name, what is funded in out name ……. Kordia anyone?)
        One (using a couple of easy steps) could actually resolve SKY’s dominant position ( JUST As an example).
        I don’t really want to discuss them in great detail atm but as a teaser:
        1. Bandwidth
        – Use it or LOSE it. The practice of buying it up to prevent a competitor’s occupation shouldn’t be too hard to swallow for the most ardent capitalist who supposedly loves competition. Using techniques such as simulcasting the same content across satellite channels OTHER than for the purpose of ensuring adequate audience reception should be outlawed
        2. Output.
        – Anything, intended for broadcast that emanates from a programme source/master control/playout – i.e. just prior to feeding a transmitter – can reasonably be deemed as intended for a WIDE audience. (anyone? please offer your arguments as to WHY not). Given that, the reception of unencrypted material intended for a wide audience, then processing it with encryption techniques) is basically not on. It’s merely ticket clipping.

        There are a shitload of other ideas – most of which the most ardent capatilist (not the crony ones we’ve become accustomed to), can’t possibly object to.

        I’d actually go further though, even given the liklihood of those same hacks squealing like stuffed pigs whilst banking their over-inflated salaries. I’d determine WHO made decisions such as we see. and point out that their ‘soon to be disestablished positions’ are not compatible’ with the principles of public service broadcasting OR the use of resources that are publicly owned.
        They seem to think there aren’t people available to establish PSB in NZ – even people who’re not going to demand the world.

        sorry @ Karol – again /endrave

  8. philj 8

    How can Government implement any policy for the common good ( including Public Broadcasting ) if it’s corrupt at the top? There needs to be a serious shake of Democruptcy in NZ. Let’s try Democracy.

  9. Peter 9

    Do we need Public Broadcasting? Well we cannot rely on our most read newspaper for consistent balanced reporting. Here we see it has a section covering Mr Bryan Gould’s articles.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bryan-gould/news/headlines.cfm?a_id=804

    Conveniently the latest articles, since Dirty Politics hit the headlines have not appeared in The Herald. To read them you need to go to http://www.bryangould.com/

  10. grumpystilskin 10

    LOL,
    Has anyone noticed that NZ Firsts’ proposal is what we used to have before the bean counters took over?
    Actually, pretty much everyone is wanting NZBC back by the sounds of it.

    • millsy 10.1

      …and guess who broke up the NZBC in the first place.

      His name starts with “R” and ends with “S”.

      The tactics that he used for this would become a sort of signature for him..

      • karol 10.1.1

        I don’t know who you are talking about. The NZBC was dissolved in 1975 – at that time there was a Labour government. Rowling had taken over from Kirk (following his death) in 1974.

        • millsy 10.1.1.1

          Christ Karol, youre dense today…

          Roger Douglas was Minister of Broadcasting in the Kirk/Rowling cabinets. It has him who split the NZBC up into TV1, TV2/South Pacific Pictures and Radio NZ (with the NZ Broadcasting Council presiding over all 3 of them). He did it in the same manner as he did in the latter half of his career.

          His plan was to have TV1 and TV2 compete with each other, and be at arms length from the government, which would only be accountable on engineering and financial issues.

          I think there was a plan for an educational TV service initally, but it came to nothing.

          • karol 10.1.1.1.1

            millsy, I wasn’t in NZ at the time. I thought the R****s was the family name of the person you were referring to. So I didn’t think Roger Douglas fitted.

            Thanks for the clarification. And it was indeed the wrong turn for public service broadcasting.

    • Once Was Tim 10.2

      Well I sure as hell don’t want an NZBC back again – other than maybe in name only.
      What I’m talking about doesn’t mean A RNZ with a CEO and Board of political appointments, AND a TVNZ with same; AND a Kordia with same; AND a NZoA with same; and a film Commission with same …… etc/
      Far fucking from it. The old NZBC with a Muldoon as PM is a prime example of what NOT to do.

  11. Rodel 11

    I enjoy advertisement free RNZ including the diversity of opinions ( Farrar & Hooton not withstanding). I enjoyed TV7 and would happily pay a bit more tax to have public broadcasting TV back.

    • Kiwiri 11.1

      Quite frankly, I would rather pay tax and have an independent public broadcast instead of dishing out monthly subscriptions to SKY, watching rubbish and then listening to the PM telling me what The Average NZer thinks and wants to move on from.

  12. Aerial 12

    I do not understand “locate with” or “content sector”. On the one hand, Labour says TVNZ and RNZ have different cultures and can’t be integrated. At the same time Labour says it will “locate their new public service TV channel with the long established values of RNZ.” What on earth does this actually mean?
    Is it another euphemism like “content sector” which presumably covers both broadcasters and production companies. Does the “content sector” include South Pacific Pictures and will Labour continue to give strong support to that company now that it’s being swallowed by the Liberty Global/Discovery Communications conglomerate with revenue equal to a quarter of NZ’s GDP?
    As for funding, taxpayers are already paying close to $250 million a year for “public broadcasting”, much of it going into the production of “quality telelevision” broadcast at obscure times and watched by tiny audiences — the exact opposite of the goal of the broadcasting system established by the fourth Labour government. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen rejected the chance to restore non-commercial broadcasting to TVOne in 2000 and now the next Labour, if there is one, seems ready to screw the whole thing completely.

    • grumpystilskin 12.1

      Don’t forget the bread & circus’s (is that a word?) to feed the masses.
      ie: my kitchen rules , dream home, Xfactor etc..
      Yep, our taxpayers dollars are paying for this shit.
      No wonder I watch less then an hour a week of TV in the average week. Crikey, I even work with guys that proudly state they haven’t read a book since school but they know every contestant on those shows.. Sums it up really.

  13. matt 13

    if any such tv channel could provide an alternative to the biased, shallow and pc reporting of current world events which completely overshadow our petty issues it would be most welcome

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