National moves to trash RNZ

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 18th, 2010 - 111 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: ,

So the Nats are attacking National Radio. It had to happen. Last time the wee blighters were in power they tore down RNZ’s building, locked them into an absurdly expensive lease in an inappropriate building, tried to make them a commercial radio station and pushed to close down the newsroom and make RNZ source its news in from commercial suppliers.

Of course National’s interest in beating RNZ down is two-fold. Firstly RNZ is about the only outlet in the country that offers independent in-depth information on a nationwide level and as such represents a serious threat to National’s fact-free governance (think of how many National ministers have been caught out telling porkies on Checkpoint or Morning Report while other stations just regurgitated their media releases). The other is that RNZ has a market share that could be up to 50% of listeners. There’s a lot to be plundered by National’s private sector mates there (and let’s not forget how Steven Joyce made his dosh).

Let’s be clear about this. Cutting news funding undermines quality. We’ve seen it again and again in commercial media. The problem is we rely on quality news to make sense of what’s going on and to cut through the spin so we can make informed choices about big issues like who we want to govern our country.

By cutting and threatening RNZ, National is undermining one of the most important players in New Zealand’s fourth estate and threatening the democratic accountability it forces.

I recall back in 2007 Jonathan Coleman claiming public broadcasting was akin to North Korean totalitarian propaganda. It seems that the minister isn’t above a little political interference with the independent media himself.

111 comments on “National moves to trash RNZ ”

  1. The dumbing down process continues.

    I was particulary incensed by Coleman having a go at the Board. They get inadequate funding to do the job properly and then it is implied that they are incompetent because they say so and have research backing them up.

  2. ak 2

    I think this’ll be a far more concerted effort that “a little political interference” if the track record of the rest of the press (including the Listener) since about 2004 is anything to go by. Looks horribly like the final surge of an ongoing, sophisticated and expensive sub-radar “hearts and minds” campaign by the Marketing Party and its backers.

    Worth defending with intensity – and along with National Parks and A-town Democracy, a convenient, clear-cut rallying point for Labour coming into the crucial Local govt elections.

  3. Macro 3

    Nact and Coleman’s stance is an absolute OUTRAGE.
    It must be resisted at all costs if we are to have any hope of a democratic society.
    The consequences of Coleman’s proposals will be a complete lack of widespread sensible political debate in this country – which of course is exactly what he wants, because they (NAct and co) know that they are have no answers to the problems facing this country.
    An absolute offence against the people of NZ – they should NOT be interfering with PUBLIC broadcasting in this way.

  4. This is one fight that will end up costing National a LOT more votes than the 250,000 regular listeners to RNZ.

    I’d love to know how much this attack is sponsored by former czar of commercial radio Stephen Joyce and his mates, who despise RNZ because of the amount of high-income audience they pull away from the bullshit commercial outlets. Definitely a story in there somewhere.

    • Tigger 4.1

      Good point sprout. Also, who benefits from a sale of Concert FM? Not just the competitors but the new buyer…who will likely be a NACT supporter no doubt…

  5. You are right Sprout. Radio NZ is the highest rating radio station in rural NZ. National may pay a price in the regions for this.

    Join this group: “Save Radio New Zealand”

  6. Scribe 6

    Readingthis story it appears Coleman is asking Radio NZ to look for areas where costs can be saved.

    I would have thought that was a reasonable question, especially if staff numbers have risen by 25% in 10 years when radio listening is on the decline.

    • Macro 6.1

      The facts are that there has already been an independent audit of RNZ and it is doing as best it can on the pittance the govt is giving it. Coleman’s insistence on reducing funding further is simply tantamount to pulling the plug on a public service.
      result chaos.
      Anti-spam “chaos”

      • Tigger 6.1.1

        Scribe – RNZ offer all their programming online and they’re electronically making their archives available online. That definitely has increased their costs in the past few years and, possibly, added to staff numbers. They don’t get extra credit for this even though it is an extra service.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Don’t suppose you’ve got a link to that research?

    • Fisiani 6.2

      Especially since there is absolutely no talk of CUTS. Simply living within means for the next 5 years.

      • Macro 6.2.1

        What planet are you on Fisiani?

        • Fisiani

          On Planet Earth there is no talk of funding cuts at RNZ. May I politely ask you to Please point out any such proposal.

          • mickysavage

            If you conveniently ignore a few things I guess you could say this.

            The reality is:

            1. RNZ is already significantly underfunded
            2. With no allowances for increases in wages or expenses this will only get worse.
            3. A 5 year freeze is effectively a cut.

            • Fisiani

              So three points but still no actual cuts. Must try harder. Get used to it. Why don’t left wingers ever learn economics . We have to live within our means. We cannot borrow 240m 340m nor 500m

              • The Voice of Reason

                Did you read point 3, Fisi? A failure to keep pace with inflation is an effective cut. 5 years of that underfunding is a going to end RNZ as a popular public broadcaster. And being popular is the problem. The Nats hate that something from the public service could be better than its private alternatives.

              • Fisiani

                Constant funding for RNZ in a time of austerity is a luxury. It is effectively a BOOST in funding from the reality cuts that our economic state actually requires.
                Spending more that we do not have means borrowing more. How many more millions each week would we have to borrow and REPAY to provide a gold medal radio service in a country that is already borrowing $240,000,000 every 7 days. That is over 34,000,000 a day. More than a MILLION DOLLARS extra in debt every hour.
                Thank God we have a Government that actually understands this fundamental issue even if the Chicken Littles ” The sky is falling in” do not.
                It is waste of time to call for more spending which simply means more borrowing.

                • lprent

                  Bill English is the master of stupid figures that sound good but are incorrect. Sounds like you’re stupid enough to swallow his bullshit without checking.

                  In this case, a high proportion of the ‘debt’ is in fact the normal rollover of government debt. Bill English had to admit this after Cunliffe called him for bullshitting. Cunliffe reckoned the actual increase in debt was about $120 million per week. English reckoned it to be about $180 million per week.

                  I’d give you a link, but it’d give you some good linking exercise to find one. Hell I may even regard that as showing improvement..

              • Armchair Critic

                “Constant funding for RNZ in a time of austerity is a luxury”
                A DPS escort to get a haircut is a luxury
                Extra funding for private schools is a luxury
                A “party-central” for the RWC is a luxury
                Roads with B/C’s below 1 out of Wellington and Auckland are a luxury.
                Fucking up local government in Auckland is a luxury
                More measuring at the expense of teaching is a luxury.
                A broadcaster with editorial independence, that is not held in thrall by advertisers and sponsors in not a luxury. At least not on this planet. Which leads back to a previous question – what planet are you on, fisiani?

  7. Evidence-Based Practice 7

    I had assumed that Jim Mora’s panel was stacked with right-wingers like Michelle Boag in order to keep the Nats on side with NATIONAL public radio.

    • Gosman 7.1

      So people like Gordon Campbell, Gordon McLaughlan, and Martyn Bradbury are now classified as right-wingers in your world?

      • Cnr Joe 7.1.1

        don’t be so wilfully stupid Gosman

        • Sonny Blount

          “Jim Mora’s panel was stacked with right-wingers”

          And this isn’t willfully stupid?

          • Macro

            Yes. Mora has his token few from the left. Not that I bother with listening to any of it anymore. Started to – couldn’t stand it anymore. Absolute rubbish most of it. Twittering on about something they have no understanding of at all! Waste of time.
            The rest of the programme throughout the day is excellent.

  8. gitmo 8

    I haven’t caught up with this story …. how are the government “moving to trash RNZ” ?

    • lprent 8.1

      They are cutting the budget that was already too small. From memory, an audit by one of the accounting firms had already identified that the $30 million required to run national radio was $5 million too short.

      Basically if the budget isn’t increased then national radio will fall over. Coleman (with the private radio operator Joyce lurking behind) want to cut the budget in the select committee today.

      • Lew 8.1.1

        This is being disguised as “adopting a more modern business model” or somesuch. Because that’ll work.


        • Lew

          For reference, the following back-of-the-envelope calculation:

          $38,000,000 / 4,000,000 / 365 = $0.026. Let’s round that up to $0.03.

          That’s how many cents per day it costs you. Three.


          • Gosman


            I just love you calculation methods – back of the envelope indeed!

            Let’s apply that calculation to other stuff shall we?

            $9,300 / 4 million = 0.2325 cents per year is how much it costs you to employ Curia at the DIA


            • Lew

              And do you see me begrudging that? I think it’s a non-story. DPF can have my two cents.


            • Bright Red

              The problem with Farrar’s polling isn’t the expense, it’s the conflict of interests and ‘jobs for the boys’

              • gitmo

                Um have you looked at the appointments to boards amde by governments over the last say fifty years ?

                Troughing and parliamentarians and their mates go together like tomato sauce and chips, nothing will change until both sides of the political cheer leading spectrum fuck over their own side as mercilessly as they do their opponents.

          • gitmo

            If they want to tighten up the spend in public broadcasting I’d pull some of the money out of TV and put it into RNZ, far better bang for buck I would have thought.

          • Bright Red

            Lew, I was going to use that 3 cents a day to buy pop rocks. I’m sick of you socialists taking away my pop rocks.

  9. Bomber 9

    It is utterly unacceptable to economically strangle the last publicly funded media bastion of critical thought in this country! National are attacking public institutions on a vast front and the last thing they want is the last standing critical media examination their ill-thought out ideological blitzkrieg.

  10. Lew 10

    Agreed. National Radio is New Zealand’s news of record — the go-to source which is most strongly trusted and feared by everyone from government and corporations to PRs and other media agencies. It has gotten this was by general adherence to firm, traditional news values and standards: hiring and holding on to good staff, giving them a reasonable degree of autonomy and authority, fearlessly criticising the hand that feeds it as well as all the others who rely on it to set and carry the news agenda, and even being critical of itself when the need arises. It does this on a microscopic budget, without having to tune its content to the whims and schedules and ideological needs of advertisers, and it does so 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and 366 on leap years. It is a model public service newscaster, the like of which only a few countries in the world are fortunate enough to have. It keeps the other media honest and requires them to bring their A game (such as it is) if they are to have any credibility — and imagine what a state we would have in our media establishment if that pressure did not exist. It is a national treasure.

    And that’s just the news department — the other sections are of similar importance, and they do all that and a bag of chips on even less money and fewer staff resources than the news section. There’s not a person working at National Radio who does so for the money — most of the staff, and I would say all of the senior presentation, editorial and production staff, could move on to similar roles on better pay, doing less and easier work and generally getting more recognition. That they don’t is predominantly due to their commitment to a healthy media culture in NZ.

    This service is critical to New Zealand’s democracy and its society, and it should be strengthened, not undermined. I’m not sure if National quite knows what a fight they’ve picked with this one. I grew up listening to National Radio, and I’ve mentioned before that my daughter is does the little Morning Report dance whenever she hears the intro music. It’s part of the fabric of NZ life. New Zealanders love their radio station; just like Australians love their ABC network, and just like the British love the BBC. The government which dismantled either of those would find itself in eternal electoral purgatory. May it be thus here.


    • Cnr Joe 10.2

      we will make it be thus.
      bloody groundhog day with this lot

    • Lew 10.3

      And this interview on Morning Report today is the case in point of why we need NatRad: Geoff Robinson tackles the issue head-on as an important matter of the public interest, plays devil’s advocate and at one point when John Boscawen asks him to say whether he thinks there is a lack of funding, tells him “it’s not my job to defend Radio New Zealand, it’s my job to ask questions of both of you”. Goddamned right.

      I just wish they’d got someone more competent than the hapless Sue Kedgley on, just repeating the same assertion over and again. Boscawen had her for breakfast, and he’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the box.


      • Pascal's bookie 10.3.1

        Of all the Green Party MP’s to have moved on, Kedgley would have been my favorite.

        The phrase “filling a much needed gap” comes to mind.

        • felix

          Fitzsimons gone, Bradford gone, yet Kedgley still walks the earth.

          It’s the Beatles all over again.

    • Phil O'Brien 10.4

      Brilliant. Thank you.

  11. Bomber 11

    It is utterly unacceptable to economically strangle the last publicly funded media bastion of critical thought in this country! National are attacking public institutions on a vast front and the last thing they want is any critical examination of their ill-thought out ideological blitzkrieg.

  12. Daveo 12

    Scribe, what happened to staff numbers and resourcing at RNZ in the 9 years previous to that under National? Might want to have a look at that before mindlessly repeating National’s lines.

    The PwC report tells us they’re still 20% underfunded for what they’re supposed to be doing, and that there’s no fat to cut.

  13. richard 13

    Is Jonathan Coleman trying to blow smoke in the face of Radio NZ?

  14. MikeG 14

    Bring back the NZBC! – combine TVNZ and RNZ so that they can share the news gathering services etc., only maintain one website, one HR dept, one Finance dept….

  15. Roflcopter 15

    I quite like listening to Radio New Zealand. What I’ve really liked is it’s consistent messages and services year after year.

    Why is it then, that they’ve needed to accumulate approximately 70 extra staff in the space of two or three years, to deliver exactly has they have been doing for decades? That 70(ish) staff increase accounts for approximately 25% of their total staffing. And I would guess that almost none of them are earning less than $70K per year.

    • the sprout 15.1

      “I would guess that almost none of them are earning less than $70K per year”

      Which would suggest, Rolfcopter, that when it comes to RNZ at least,
      you wouldn’t know shit from chocolate bro.

      • Lew 15.1.1

        I was going to lead off with something like this and then thought, you know, s/he might be genuine. But yeah. The figure rather undermines that thesis.


      • Roflcopter 15.1.2

        Which is probably why I mistook you for a Picnic Bar.

    • Lew 15.2

      The people you hear are the tip of the iceberg. Behind them is an army of researchers, writers, producers, technicians, fact-checkers, editors, sanity-checkers, field staff, administrators and bean-counters. Most important, though, a news medium is a filtering service to tell you what you need to know. As the amount of news grows, the number of people required to figure out what the public needs to know grows with it. You should be happy that the latter doesn’t grow in line with the former, because if it did we’d need half of Wellington working in the media.


  16. tsmithfield 16

    If it was such a shit-hot broadcasting service then it wouldn’t need public funding.

    • Lew 16.1

      No, TS, it’s such a shit-hot broadcasting service partly because it isn’t dependent on the goodwill of advertisers for its funding.


    • Bright Red 16.2

      TS thinks that good broadcasting services get money from pixies at the bottom of the garden.

      • Lew 16.2.1

        If it’s that simple, why doesn’t he get his pop-rocks from the pixies instead of asking Radio NZ to pay for them?


    • lprent 16.3

      TS – there are no other broadcasting services worth a damn in NZ in my opinion.

      • Commercial radio is as vacuous as a wingnut troll attempting to discuss science.
      • All TV channels have so much advertising that it is really hard to see the program, and the programs are crap – including the news and current affairs which are too variable to be bothered recording.
      • These days we pretty much rely on DVDs both rented locally and purchased via Amazon for video.
      • The less said about some of the idiotic reporting in the newspapers the better

      Through all of this you can generally rely on the National program to give some real information. Which is of course is why NACT would like it gone. I’d cheerfully scrap all of my tax money sunk into the TV channels and for that matter Maori media and dump it all into the National program.

  17. Daveo 17

    Roflcopter. I’d be interested to know where you got your figures from. Are these full time equivalents? And is it two-three years like you say or ten years as your Tory mates have been saying? Do you know what they are doing or is this just your right-wing political prejudices showing through?

    I strongly suspect it’s the latter, as anyone who knows anyone who works at Radio NZ (or as a journalist in general actually) knows there would be few staff on more than $70,000 a year. Generally journalists are paid less than factory workers, it’s only the well known presenters and the managers that get the big salaries.

    Are you aware of the PWC report that said they were 20% underfunded for what they’re doing?

    • Roflcopter 17.1

      Go talk to a RNZ Journo, they’ll tell you exactly where the money is being sucked up. And it isn’t being spent on improving the lot of the front-line people responsible for delivering meaningful content, or on researchers etc. It’s all getting top-heavy. And can you say “$2M rebrand is cheap” without keeping a straight face?

      • lprent 17.1.1

        And can you say “$2M rebrand is cheap’ without keeping a straight face?

        Paula Bennett can – I listened to her on RNZ yesterday getting done by Annette King about a rebranding exercise of existing social programs yesterday. It was costing a damn sight…. I saw a post about it on Red Alert this morning.

    • gitmo 17.2

      Their financial statements are on line.

      267 FTE staff paid collectively 21.4 million per annum (ave just over 80k) with 20 staff on over 100k and only the CEO on over 190k.

  18. That funny concept that this current mob are incapable of understanding, the law, is interesting.

    Radio NZ is a creature of statute. It’s charter makes for interesting reading. It states:

    (1) The functions of the public radio company shall be to provide innovative, comprehensive, and independent broadcasting services of a high standard and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to provide—
    (a) Programmes which contribute towards intellectual, scientific, and cultural, spiritual, and ethical development, promote informed debate, and stimulate critical thought; and
    (b) A range of New Zealand programmes, including information, special interest, and entertainment programmes, and programmes which reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity, including Maori language and culture; and
    (c) Programmes which provide for varied interests and a full range of age groups within the community, including information, educational, special interest, and entertainment programmes; and
    (d) Programmes which encourage and promote the musical, dramatic, and other performing arts, including programmes featuring New Zealand and international composers, performers, and artists; and
    (e) A nationwide service providing programming of the highest quality to as many New Zealanders as possible, thereby engendering a sense of citizenship and national identity; and
    (f) Comprehensive, independent, impartial, and balanced national news services and current affairs, including items with a regional perspective; and
    (g) Comprehensive, independent, impartial and balanced international news services and current affairs;
    (ga) an international radio service to the South Pacific (Radio New Zealand International), which may include a range of programmes in English and Pacific languages; and
    (h) Archiving of programmes which are likely to be of historical interest in New Zealand.

  19. chris 19

    i’ve started a facebook group here

    would be good to start swelling the numbers a bit and spreading the word

    happy to make anyone keen an admin

  20. Classical Liberal 20

    When the taxpayer pays around $35 million for anything it’s reasonable for their elected representatives to ask hard questions about how well that money is being spent.

    Regardless of what the KPMG review said it appears from the latest annual report that RNZ’s board and management are not doing the job particularly well. In the 2008 year RNZ spent $19,058,000 on personnel costs. For the 2009 year they budgeted $20,010,000 which is a 5% increase but they actually spent $21,417,000 – a 12.4% increase. This is not good enough.

    I agree that RNZ is worth protecting but it is not entitled to spend well above inflation and well above budget without consequences.

    • Bright Red 20.1

      They’re not asking ‘hard questions’. They’re just slashing the budget and saying ‘lump it’

      • ak 20.1.1

        ….and nine times out of ten the “hard questions” have a perfectly legitimate answer as someone alluded to for this case up-thread.

        Weirdest thing is that this will upset many of their own staunchest stalwarts – as will the attacks on the environment, community boards etc. Many cockies are big Natrad fans, and many rural areas can get nothing else.

        PS phrase du jour for the current slashing seems to be “living within our means”. Like one big happy family “all in this together”; prepare to cringe at this a trillion times in the coming year.

    • Armchair Critic 20.2

      So what’s Whanau Ora about, then, CL? Happy with the government’s explanations so far? It’s only an order of magnitude more money than RNZ’s funding.
      I’m quite happy with what RNZ are doing, how it is described, and how well they are doing it. The only thing I want to see changed is an increase to their funding.

      • Classical Liberal 20.2.1

        I’m sorry Armchair but the standard playbook won’t work with me. I was responding to a blog on RNZ – not Whanau Ora, not the current administration. And RNZ are not managing their costs well.
        Your predictable response will be either to ignore my post [please] or engage in an ad hominem attack

        • IrishBill

          RNZ are managing their costs very well. In fact if you compare them to media works they are doing extremely well. In short you are wrong. Factually and quantitatively incorrect. However as a “classical liberal” (a ridiculous term if ever there was one) you are probably applying a system of measurables that fails to account for any benefit outside of narrow profit-orientated parameters. If this is the case I’d suggest you should be commenting over at the visible hand, anti-dismal or one of those other fantasy role-play blogs.

          • Classical Liberal

            Why Irish – the response from the frustrated left is much more fun.
            Although your failure to engage with the facts is just sad. RNZ do not controls their costs when compared to the budget they set themselves – the numbers speak regardless of what spin you put on it.
            And as an ad hominem this is pathetic – Felix would have gone for the jugular [mind you he would have missed]

            IrishBill: you mean “control” not “controls”. Smug and as thick as shit in the neck of a bottle, a classical liberal indeed.

            • Classical Liberal

              BINGO – IrishBill cannot address the facts and reaches for the tired old ad-hominem attack. Truly pathetic.

              [lprent: We’ve just seen your tired old arguments over and over again. What we have yet to see is any proof that what you’re saying is more than an article of faith held by a flake. Oh and please don’t drop into the kiddie “I won/owned/pwned” speak. It just pisses me off and I start banning. ]

              • wtl

                As far as I can see, your original comment was already discredited by Armchair Critic @ 9.56 pm yesterday – they may have overspent one part of the budget but had an overall surplus, making the overspend irrelevant. I see you haven’t addressed that and just keep whinging about ad hominem attacks.

        • Armchair Critic

          And your predictable response, CL, was to ignore facts and avoid questions about your comment.
          Apart from “Johnathon Coleman says so” you have no evidence that RNZ are not managing their costs well.
          You invited the question about Whanau Ora with your opening statement about questioning significant government spending. The irony of you concern about $35m and apparent lack of concern about a $1b program is therefore fair game. And your “it’s not the subject of the post” line is kind of weak. Go on, stretch your mind, be a rebel, see if the moderators will let you.
          I will save my full contempt for your position until I’ve read your reply.

          • Classical Liberal

            As I said in my earlier post in this thread:
            “Regardless of what the KPMG review said it appears from the latest annual report that RNZ’s board and management are not doing the job particularly well. In the 2008 year RNZ spent $19,058,000 on personnel costs. For the 2009 year they budgeted $20,010,000 which is a 5% increase but they actually spent $21,417,000 a 12.4% increase. This is not good enough.”
            SOURCE Radio NZ annual report NOT Jonathan Coleman – download from this page

            Whanau Ora will be a successful programme ……. for Holden NZ, Air NZ, Holiday Inn etc. etc. Devolving this spend to untried providers will see money wasted on Commodores, Koru Club memberships, business class travel but not Whanau or their Ora. The same types of proposals came up in the Regional Health Authority era and were a complete rort then. Nothing has changed.

            • Armchair Critic

              The 2009 AR also states RNZ had an overall surplus. Yes, a very small surplus, but a surplus none the less. Which seems to indicate that they compensated for the increased personnel costs by trimming costs elsewhere. Hardly the sign of a bad board, or poor management.
              The same report also states that with one exception, RNZ achieved all their objectives. The exception was they only partially achieved recruitment and retention of talented staff.
              So, even though RNZ spent over their budget on personnel, they can not meet their recruitment and staff retention objectives. Bit of a contradiction there.

              • A surplus because they managed to get by with 80% of the money they needed to do the job properly. In other words they could have done the job much better.

    • Macro 20.3

      Wow only $35 m to fund RNZ now THAT is doing it on the cheap buddy! – What about the $46 m EXTRA funding to PRIVATE schools – are they going to be asking the hard questions there? Yeah right!

      • big bruv 20.3.1

        You mean the tax’s paid by people who send their kids to private schools?

        What is wrong with the parents of kids at private school seeing some of their tax dollars going into the school their child attends?

        If you don’t like that idea then why not let us have tax breaks and we can fund our own kids to the school of our choice?

        Those who are happy with public schools can continue to pay tax at a higher level.

        Seems fair to me.

        • Macro

          Again teenie troll you display a complete lack of understanding of the things you are talking about. Private schools were already heavily subsidised by tax payers the last budget sent more funding in their direction at the expense of schools and education that provided for the public as a whole. People are free to send their children to schools other than public schools if they wish, and as a parent I have. But that is their choice.They should not be expecting the public to fund them.

  21. tc 21

    How utterly predictable from the NACT with that logic …
    IF ‘Disagree with govt’ THEN ‘Discredit/Ignore/Dismantle’……JK wants to bridge the gap with Oz eh……quality public broadcasting exists across the ditch and no Aust gov’t would ever be so stupid as to dick with it….last one that tried found that out very quickly.

    just goes to show you how desperate they are to stifle any debate in the hope of repeating the con they pulled off in 2008……the really depressing issue is the MSM will lie down on this hoping their biggest competitor gets wiped out.

    A relentless focus on removing any contrary opinions to ours.

    • Lew 21.1

      A relentless focus on closing the gap with Australia by running as fast as possible in the opposite direction, as I’ve often heard it argued around these parts. There’s got to be another post in that, for someone who can be arsed with wonkish policy detail more than I can. Incoherent narratives are vulnerable.


  22. Clarke 22

    What appalls me about Coleman’s behaviour is that he’s part of a government that has no hesitation in pissing away public money on utter white elephants – $100 million on the Queens Wharf “party venue”, anyone? For that kind of money we could have both a better-funded RNZ and the return of adult education courses.

  23. Red Rosa 23

    $35m seems like a bargain. If they dished out $35m to private schools, $35m to run a broadcaster should be peanuts.

    Maybe we could raise the top tax bracket to match Australia’s. Now that WOULD be a step in the right direction….. might even close the gap a bit….

  24. Zaphod Beeblebrox 24

    $35 mill?? You could almost fund that with the travel allowance for MPs for one year. Maybe Key could avoid visiting Europe and Washington for a couple of years? Then rural people can get to keep their radio services.

  25. Jim Nald 25

    The Govt is getting more bl**dy awful by the day

  26. randal 26

    how soon do we get ads for erectile dysfunction on the concert programme?

    • felix 26.1

      S: “Tell me Geoff, how do function so well in the mornings?”

      G: “Well Sean, it’s all down to Nature Bee. Katherine, on the other hand, sleeps on magnetic deer velvet. And what’s more, her sense of journalistic ethics is back!”

      K: “Yes, well I need it with him around!”

      • Lew 26.1.1

        Felix, it rings so true that I pity you, the number of hours you’ve spent listening to those channels.


        • felix

          I used to listen quite a bit, but now I just pour Wet & Forget all over the radio and let nature do the work.

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    Associate Minister of Justice Nicole McKee has extended her congratulations to the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations on its centenary this year. The occasion is being celebrated at the Federation’s annual AGM and Conference, which opens in Wellington today.  “Justices of the Peace (JPs) play a vital role ...
    1 day ago
  • Government going after gangs’ guns with FPOs
    The Government is continuing its work to restore law and order, announcing new measures that will enable police to crack down on gangs through Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs).  “Firearms are being illegally used by gangs to intimidate, to commit violent crime in support of their profit making, and to initiate ...
    1 day ago
  • Open ocean salmon farm a win for the economy
    The final approval of New Zealand King Salmon’s Blue Endeavour open ocean aquaculture project is a significant step for New Zealand’s aquaculture, and a win for the economy, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones says.  “Blue Endeavour will be the first open ocean aquaculture salmon farm in New Zealand. It’s ...
    1 day ago
  • NZ – UAE trade agreement consultation begins
    Following a meeting with UAE Trade Minister Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Trade Minister Todd McClay has launched public consultation for a trade agreement between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   “The UAE is a top-20 export market for ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister thanks Public Service Commissioner
    Public Service Minister Nicola Willis has thanked retiring Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes for his 43 years of service. Mr Hughes retires today, after serving eight years as Public Service Commissioner.  “Peter Hughes is an outstanding public servant who has served many governments, regardless of their political leaning, with professionalism and ...
    2 days ago
  • Tourism data shows determination of sector
    New tourism data out today shows the continued importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy as tourism steps up to become our second-biggest export earner, Tourism Minister Matt Doocey says. “The Tourism Satellite Account shows how strongly tourism rebounded post-pandemic with total tourism expenditure in New Zealand of $37.7b ...
    2 days ago
  • Housing Minister thanks outgoing Kāinga Ora Chair
    Housing Minister Chris Bishop has today thanked outgoing Kāinga Ora – Homes & Communities Chair Vui Mark Gosche for his many years of public service. “Mr Gosche tendered his resignation as Chair yesterday evening. He will remain a member of the Board until the end of March,” says Housing Minister ...
    2 days ago
  • New sanctions package against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced a new package of sanctions as part of the ongoing international sanction response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.   The new sanctions are:   Implementation of the G7-plus price cap on Russian-origin oil; making explicit the prohibition on exporting restricted ...
    2 days ago
  • Travel bans on extremist Israeli settlers
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced travel bans on a number of extremist Israeli settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.   “New Zealand is seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian populations in recent months. This is ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ designates entirety of Hamas as terrorist entity
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced today the designation of Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist entity.   “The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them,” Mr Luxon says.    Following these attacks, then Prime Minister Chris Hipkins commissioned advice from officials about designating the ...
    2 days ago
  • Government announces independent review of forestry ETS costs
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay has today announced an independent review into the forestry component of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Register to ensure it is efficient and cost-effective. “Up and down the country forestry owners have been raising concerns about the excessive costs that have been imposed upon them by ...
    2 days ago
  • Access barriers to PET-CT scans removed
    New Zealanders now have the same access to PET-CT scans no matter where they live, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. Health New Zealand - Te Whatu Ora has approved funding an updated national set of criteria that will allow for about 1,000 more PET-CT scans a year to be ...
    2 days ago
  • Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines’ alliance extended
    Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey announced today that the Government has extended Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines’ strategic alliance for another five years. “Reauthorising this strategic partnership means that passengers flying in and out of New Zealand will continue to have access to a wide range of flights and destinations,” ...
    3 days ago
  • Health system reforms need further action
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says the latest report into New Zealand’s health reforms shows a few benefits, but overall once again demonstrates a lack of leadership by the previous Labour government.  The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) report released today was commissioned by the previous government to provide an independent ...
    3 days ago
  • Parallel assessment means new medicines assessed sooner
    Pharmac is changing its process so it can assess a funding application at the same time Medsafe is assessing the application for regulatory approval. This means that medicines will be able to be considered for funding sooner in New Zealand. “Access to medicines is a crucial part of many Kiwis’ ...
    3 days ago
  • Smokefree Amendment Bill Introduced
    The Government has today introduced an Amendment Bill that will repeal three parts of the previous Government’s planned changes to regulate smoked tobacco. “The Coalition Government is committed to the Smokefree 2025 goal, but we are taking a different regulatory approach to reducing smoking rates and the harm from smoking,” ...
    4 days ago
  • Targeted support for young people
    Recently allocated Ministry of Youth Development funding will support more than 6700 young people to receive targeted youth development support to remain in education or transition to further training or employment and improve their wellbeing, Youth Minister Matt Doocey says.  Funding of $10.69 million will be allocated to 34 community-based ...
    4 days ago
  • Reshaping the health system to bring Māori health closer to home
    Legislation that will disestablish the Māori Health Authority will be introduced in Parliament today, heralding the start of a new vision for Māori health says Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti.  “We have said we will bring healthcare for all New Zealanders closer to the home and closer to the ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce
    Acknowledgements Good morning. Can I start by acknowledging Simon and the team at the Chamber. Thanks for the invitation to be here today. Introduction In October last year New Zealanders voted for change. The Coalition government was elected with a clear mandate to rebuild the economy and reduce the cost ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australia and Brazil to agreements
    New Zealand has welcomed Australia to the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) and Australia and Brazil to the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) Minister for Trade Todd McClay says.  As the current chair of ITAG and GTAGA, Minister McClay hosted the signing ceremony and issued the Abu Dhabi Joint ...
    5 days ago
  • Inquiry announced into school property
    The Government will conduct a Ministerial Inquiry to address problems with the school property system where the scope of property works planned was unrealistic and unaffordable. “The coalition Government has inherited a school property system bordering on crisis,” Education Minister Erica Stanford says. “There have been a number of cost escalations ...
    5 days ago
  • New Chair for Guardians of NZ Superannuation
    Company director and investor John Williamson has been appointed as the new Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that oversees the NZ Super Fund and the Elevate NZ Venture Capital Fund, Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced today.  Mr Williamson will take up his new position ...
    5 days ago
  • Northland open for business as critical works to repair SH1 Brynderwyn Hills begin
    The Government is encouraging New Zealanders to support, visit, and explore Northland, as the closure and detour of SH1 at the Bryderwyn Hills begins, and critical repair work by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) gets underway, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Many regions across the country suffered extensive and devastating ...
    5 days ago
  • Government backs police to crackdown on gangs
    The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell.  “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase. At the same time, ...
    6 days ago
  • Northland’s new Kāeo Bridge officially open
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed the official opening of the new State Highway 10 (SH10) Kāeo Bridge, which will improve safety and traffic flow for people heading to and from the Far North. “This is an important piece of infrastructure for the Northland region that will help members of ...
    1 week ago
  • Government grants $6.6 million to clean up old landfill sites
    The Government has granted $6.6 million to clean up four historic New Zealand landfill and dump sites vulnerable to extreme weather events and coastal erosion. At the BlueGreens Forum in Paihia today Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said that the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund grants will go towards fixing former landfills ...
    1 week ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
    1 week ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
    1 week ago
  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
    1 week ago
  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    1 week ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
    1 week ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    1 week ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    1 week ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    1 week ago

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