Labour commits $38m for 'RNZ+'

  • 12/09/2017
Labour would spend $38 million to make RNZ a multi-media platform.
Labour would spend $38 million to make RNZ a multi-media platform. Photo credit: Getty

Radio New Zealand would become a multi-media platform, expanding into free-to- air television under a plan by Labour to make public broadcast device neutral.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says RNZ would share in $38 million to help the public broadcaster keep up with the pace of media change.

A new project called RNZ+ would be funded to offer multi-platform services like BBC in the UK and ABC in Australia.

"We are in a changing, dynamic media world," she said in Auckland on Tuesday.

"Our ability to keep pace with that means making sure that we acknowledge the pace of change and that we support public broadcasting in New Zealand and across the many platforms in which it must exist now," she said.

RNZ Plus would include expansion into television, but Ms Ardern said there would not be focus on just one platform.

New Zealand On Air would also share in the $38m fund, with the split to be determined by a new organisation called the Public Media Funding Commission, a cross-party committee that would also be able to fund other investigative journalism projects.

"This is about making sure that New Zealanders have access to New Zealand stories, to our unique identity," Ms Ardern said.

Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran says NZ On Air would be given a license to engage with commercial and new media start-ups while RNZ+ would create more local content for children, Pasifika and other ethnicities.

"It will truly enable RNZ to be able to represent New Zealand in all its diversity, in all platforms, in all parts of New Zealand," she said.

Labour is not proposing any changes to Television New Zealand.

The Coalition for Better Broadcasting said the commission would help insulate public service funding from political and commercial pressure, while it called RNZ+ the "public service operator we need for the digital future".