It was put to Jacinda Ardern on AM that ordinary Kiwis concerned about the current cost of living crisis may want to know how merging Television New Zealand (TVNZ) and Radio New Zealand (RNZ) could save money.
“If we want to make sure that we are supporting New Zealanders through this rough period, getting rid of our public service broadcasters or having Radio New Zealand collapse doesn't help them and it actually doesn't help New Zealand,” Ardern replied.
AM host Ryan Bridge picked up on Ardern saying RNZ – a Government-funded service – could collapse. He asked the Prime Minister what the latest advice was that she's received about how close that is to happening.
For the last year the merger has been a solution looking for a problem, and the Government has been unable to coherently state what problem it will solve.
Now the PM, under pressure, has claimed that it is needed because without the merger, Radio NZ could collapse.
I class this as beyond hyperbole, as a clear lie.
Radio NZ is 100% funded by the Government. It gets zero income from advertising and sponsorship. Unlike private broadcasters, it never has to face revenue drops during recessions etc.
The only way it could collapse, is if the Government chose to do so.
So Ardern raising the spectre of Radio NZ collapsing to justify the merger is desperation.
“This is about projecting to the future. The listenership is declining. You know that. I know that.
Also a lie, according to no less than Radio NZ itself:
RNZ's radio audience has increased compared with the previous survey, and audience share has increased slightly from 14.5% to 14.6%.
Also, even if Ardern was correct, a fall in ratings does not mean a fall in revenue for Radio NZ because once again it is fully funded by the Government.
Ardern then explained that misinformation and disinformation are the biggest national securityconcerns in New Zealand.
So really the merger is about disinformation? Good God.