A group of 31 prominent New Zealanders has called on the Government to make TVNZ a fully publicly funded broadcaster, similar to the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
I have a number of thoughts on this issue:
1) The current model is beyond any doubt very very broken. Even the CEO of TVNZ whose job was to implement the charter has stated this. The only people in New Zealand who do not think the current model is broken meet every Monday morning on the 10th floor of the Beehive and even amongst them 19 of them are probably just pretending they think it is okay to placate Steve Maharey.
2) The costs of making both channels of TVNZ fully publicly funded is very very large. The costs of a TV channel do not rise greatly with the population they serve so the cost/capita would be massively higher in NZ than the UK and Canada.
3) However it would be worth looking at whether TV One could go non commercial and TV Two sold off as a fully commercial channel, with the proceeds earmarked to fund TV One as a public broadcaster.
4) Katherine Rich makes an excellent point that “People are getting their media fix from a wide range of sources, not just Television One. It is unfair to burden a state broadcaster with meeting the needs of everyone.” Indeed, and for the sake of argument one could argue it would be cheaper for the Government to buy every household a Sky decoder and subscription which might be cheaper than a BBC style broadcaster, and provide moire variety!
No easy options here but some change from the status quo is essential.