1. There is no public television broadcaster in NZ. Our public broadcasting environment is depleted. Labour believes a strong, independent, free public media service NOT driven by commercial interests is essential to an informed democracy.
2. A Labour Government will immediately start a debate to establish a new non-commercial public broadcaster. It will include the functions of Radio NZ and TVNZ7. It will consider other functions. So to be clear we will keep TVNZ7. Radio NZ will retain its autonomy. We will strengthen them and may add services. We will ensure the governance of the new broadcaster is more arms length from government.
3. It will exist in the digital environment. Therefore it spans the traditional broadcasting telco industry and internet realms. This is called convergence. Labour has already signalled a converged regulatory environment for broadcasting and telco sectors.
4. A public and industry (broadcasting and telco sectors) debate will take place on the final shape and funding mechanisms. There are a range of options to be canvassed. The debate is important because it will be a New Zealand broadcaster that belongs to all of us and is about us. The lack of a public broadcaster has been debated. The shape of a future one has not. That debate has been sorely missing.
4. We don’t anticipate any extra cost to the taxpayer. We will asking the sectors how they think it should be funded. The outcome could be a mix of options. We are not prejudging or anticipating the outcome of this. The debate hasn’t been had. Many stakeholders are keen to have it.
5. The debate will be concluded within a year and it is anticipated that decisions will be made and any regulatory and other changes underway.
This is a significant policy. It marks an important change towards a contemporary Kiwi approach to protecting and promoting our culture in the 21st Century. It’s a commitment not made lightly and it’s a commitment we will see through.
I hope you agree.