"National's negative attitude to public broadcasting is baffling" - Labour
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Labour is calling out the National government on the ‘erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture’.
Labour broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran says public funding has been cut by 25% in real terms since the National government took office in 2009.
“A seven year funding squeeze for Radio NZ and NZ on Air, after accounting for inflation and population growth, means public funding of broadcasting is now at an all-time low,” Curran says.
“While it appears there’s been a tiny increase to public broadcasting funding in Budget 2015, the amount is actually unchanged from last May, as the government reduced NZ on Air funding following Budget 2014.”
Curran says given the increased size and diversity of New Zealand's population over the last six years, Budget 2015's provision for public broadcasting is now at the “lowest level of any budget in modern New Zealand history.”
“While the slashing of funding is bad enough, the quality of decision-making regarding the use of public broadcasting money has also been highly questionable under National,” she says.
“I’m sure many people would be surprised to know money for broadcasting New Zealand voices is now regularly shipped overseas, with NZ on Air effectively covering the cost of licences for foreign reality TV show formats and subsidising appearance fees for people such as Natalia Kills and Willy Moon.”
Curran says National's negative attitude to public broadcasting is baffling. “A strong and healthy level of public debate is vital in connecting society,” she says.
“Something needs to change, and soon, before the diverse breadth of New Zealand culture is extinguished from our screens and airwaves.”
Allocation for Public Broadcasting Services Budget 2009: $157.932 million Budget 2010: $161.820 million ($151.692 million actual spend) Budget 2011: $149.720 million Budget 2012: $139.192 million Budget 2013: $134.417 million Budget 2014: $131.842 million ($131.506 million actual spend) Budget 2015: $131.842 million
Allocation for Public Broadcasting Services (inflation adjusted to March 2015 dollars) Budget 2009: $175.268 million Budget 2010: $175.981 million ($164.967 million actual spend) Budget 2011: $155.860 million Budget 2012: $142.660 million Budget 2013: $136.592 million Budget 2014: $131.953 million ($131.616 million actual spend) Budget 2015: $131.842 million