The Platform reports:
We decided to look closer at the fund and exactly what those receiving funding had to agree to. The information is all available publicly and in plain sight. A copy of the standard funding agreement is available on the NZ On Air website. Upon reading the documentation we were struck by two significant things:
- The funding agreements are set up like loans.
- In the first section of ‘General Eligibility Criteria’ a document is provided as a ‘resource’ called Te Tiriti Framework for News Media which references He Puapua as an authoritative document.
That is essentially how the Public Interest Journalism Fund is set up – like a loan. Not only do applicants have to thoroughly explain how they will adhere to the particular co-governance model of understanding the Treaty in order to get the funding in the first place, they have to agree that should they deviate from presenting this perspective NZ On Air can say that they have defaulted on the agreement and demand the funding be repaid.
So if a media organisation that got some of the $55 million from the Government started running an editorial line that the Treaty of Waitangi did not establish a co-governance partnership, then they could be forced to repay the money they got.