Defrost the Radio NZ Funding Freeze
The Coalition for Better Broadcasting calls on the government to end the six-year funding freeze for Radio New Zealand.
Radio NZ appeals to listeners from all walks of life, all over the country – rural, urban, men, women and right across the political spectrum. Yet the government seem intent on weakening the state broadcaster.
Seven years ago Radio NZ was already struggling financially. A 2007 independent audit by KPMG concluded the organisation was seriously under-funded, under-staffed and under-resourced. It recommended immediate funding increases of $6.7m. But the following year, in 2008 the newly elected National government imposed a freeze that has effectively cut Radio NZ's funding by 9%.
At a public meeting in March 2014 it was revealed Radio NZ has survived by selling off grand pianos and sub-dividing land around its Auckland transmission site. But RNZ has run out of assets to sell and efficiencies to make. Indications are that within 12 months lack of funding will start to seriously impact on the broadcaster, and listeners too.
It's been fairly obvious over the years that the Key government is no friend of public service broadcasting but they have seriously miscalculated the public's regard for Radio NZ. 86% of all New Zealanders think Radio NZ is important to them and the country, and almost half a million people regularly listen to RNZ National, making it the most listened-to station in the country.
Radio NZ is a national treasure and this government must stop slowly strangling the life out of it.
The CBB calls on Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams to increase Radio NZ funding by an extra $10.2m for financial year 2014/15. This relatively minor amount takes account of inflation and would bring Radio NZ back to par with KPMG's recommendations.
How can you help?
And good luck. Radio NZ is in your hands.
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