Labour leader Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday morning that the party would provide funding for Radio NZ to set up a new non-commercial television channel if elected, with the radio broadcaster morphing into a multi-media “public digital media service”, which it has dubbed “RNZ Plus”.
The plan would likely see Radio NZ get the bulk of an additional $38 million a year that Labour would allocate to public broadcasting, said Labour broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran, who denied the plan was a snub to Television New Zealand.
Fairfax NZ chief executive Sinead Boucher said it was “great that Labour recognises the importance of high-quality journalism to a sound democracy”.
“But I would question their approach of piling more money into state-owned media, and their plans to turn Radio NZ into a super-media platform and broadcaster.
“Whilst Radio NZ is a great organisation, it has just had a big funding boost and I am not convinced New Zealanders have much appetite for more of their journalism to ultimately flow up to government control,” she said.
Labour is going to set up a Public Media Funding Commission which they claim will be free from political influence. Yeah, right. You can just imagine who will be appointed to this!