RNZ revamp still on, despite Hirschfeld scandal - Curran

  • 01/04/2018

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran says the fallout from her meeting with Carol Hirschfeld will unlikely affect funding allocated to RNZ and has not damaged the relationship with the state broadcaster.

RNZ is set to receive $38m in the next budget round, and the minister has said the aftermath of her controversial meeting with the former-RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld would likely have no bearing on that funding allocation.

Ms Curran told TVNZ on Sunday while she couldn't confirm that RNZ would receive the funding, there was still a plan in place "to turn RNZ into a more evolved multimedia entity".

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"That plan has not changed [but] the quantum of the investment in this budget cycle is still unclear because we're still in that process."

Labour campaigned on forming RNZ+, a free-to-air non-commercial television service, and Ms Curran said this was still the government's intention.

"The focus will be on moving the platforms [to] multimedia in a gradual way depending on how much money is available to do it - it's going to take some time."

Ms Curran has denied that the unscheduled meeting with former RNZ executive Carol Hirschfeld at a Wellington cafe last week was an effort to try and influence the state broadcaster.

The minister has said the meeting did involve discussions that included potential funding for RNZ and "policy ideas that were already on record".

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and chairman Richard Griffen have both stated they did not wish RNZ to have a free-to-air non-commercial television service but Ms Curran insists "there is no division between RNZ and the government on this issue".

She says the incident has not damaged trust between RNZ and the government.

"It's a huge shame that Carol Hirschfeld has left her job as a result of this but the issues in New Zealand media are too important - but the issues aren't just about RNZ, there is the whole of the media landscape."

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