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The CBB Broadcasting Policy Guide

This guide has been compiled based on responses to a questionnaire and party policy releases and comments. The overall scores are:

  • CBB-political.pngInternet Mana 87/100 Wow! Internet Mana agrees with most of the CBB’s proposals. We note though that idealism is easier when you’re unlikely to actually have to follow through in government.
  • Greens 75/100 Nice words but lack of specifics.
  • Labour 72/100 Understand the issues and have good policies, apart from the TPPA
  • Maori Party 65/100 Focussed only on Maori broadcasting and media (lucky Maori)
  • NZ First 62/100 Light on detail but good intentions
  • United Future 16/100 Previously supportive of public service broadcasting but no response to the survey meant missing out on a better score.
  • Conservatives 13/100 Supportive of old fashioned broadcasting but show absolutely no grasp of current issues.
  • National 9/100 Are in the process of dismantling what’s left of NZ public service broadcasting piece by piece. Only score points because of increased captioning and not closing down Radio NZ.
  • ACT 0/100 Believes government has no place in broadcasting and media, so is diametrically opposite the CBB

Authorised by Myles Thomas, 88 Sackville Street, Auckland  

Question 1 - Does your party support establishing a non-commercial television channel? If so, what type of channel. If not, please explain why.
  They say... We say...
Labour is committed to Public Broadcasting.   Our vision is a place where our sound and vision showcases to both local and global audiences our diversity, our opinions, our talents and the debates which will shape our future.   This vision is born to inform, entertain, and equally important, it will serve our democracy with fierce independence.   As such Labour will establish a new free to air public service television station within Radio New Zealand.   Culturally, RNZ has a purer track record in regards to public service broadcasting than TVNZ.   RNZ also needs to adapt with the convergence of media. A purely radio driven public service entity will not survive in predicted ultra-fast broadband environment where demand for video content and video on demand content will dominate the market. 10/10 Labour has obviously thought at length about the issues and come up with a great policy.
 nz-first.jpg Yes. New Zealand First will re-establish a non-commercial public service free-to-air channel with a concentration on quality programming based on the TVNZ 7 model.  9/10
 internet-mana.jpg Yes. 9/10
 green.jpg TVNZ7 should not have been closed down by the National Government.  New Zealanders expressed a strong interest in the channel; thousands attended meetings across the country and two large marches in Auckland and Wellington. Over 36,000 people signed the petition to keep TVNZ 7 on air.   It is vital that New Zealanders have access to a non-commercial public channel and the Green Party is committed to pursuing this goal. 6/10 Great comments but no policy.
maori.jpg  We have greatly valued the Māori Language Channel, Te Reo, which was relaunched in April 2014.   The channel has been extended to include more children’s and youth programming.   According to Census 2013, the number of Māori able to hold a conversation in te reo Māori has dropped to one in five from one in four in 2006.  During our time in Government, the Māori Party has quadrupled the funding for Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, primarily to support community-based, home and marae language initiatives.   We see the increased hours on the Te Reo channel as an important part of the language revitalisation strategy. 5/10 Has no policy regarding television for non-Maori (though policy regarding Maori television is good). Television for Maori is well funded hence not an aim for the CBB.
 utd-future.jpg No response 5/10 Opposed closure of TVNZ 7 so presumably would support a new non-commercial channel.
conservative.jpg  No response 4/10 Supports a non-commercial channel but has questionable expectations of what it would play
 national.jpg No response 0/10 National closed down TVNZ6 & TVNZ7 and removed the Charter.
 act.jpg No response 0/10 ACT believes the Government should not own broadcasters, therefore would sell TVNZ.


Question 2 - If elected, what measures will your party put in place to support Radio New Zealand and ensure that it has the capacity to grow?
  They say... We say...
internet-mana.jpg  Increase funding.   8/10
green.jpg  Radio NZ is a vital part of New Zealand’s public broadcasting.  Under National its funding has been frozen for a number of years.  This funding freeze has occurred at the same time that the Government has given loans to private broadcasters.  The Green Party considers that it is time to end the funding freeze and shift resources towards public broadcasting.  The Green Party will review future funding directions for Radio NZ in order that it is able to continue providing New Zealanders with quality public broadcasting. 8/10 Good policy but lacking concrete dollar amounts
labour.jpg  Radio New Zealand has a long and proud history of high quality, non-commercial, independent public broadcasting including the National Programme, Concert programme, service to the Pacific Islands and the website.   This has been reflected in the trust that New Zealanders have in RNZ as a brand.   Labour will ensure that RNZ has the means to flourish. 7/10 Lacking detail
 maori.jpg The Maori Party is very supportive of radio broadcasting and recently established funding in the Budget for iwi radio to receive $12 million over four years to enable them to continue broadcasting.We believe that iwi radio programming is a vital means of maintaining education and communication across Māori communities and that is where our ongoing priority must be. 7/10 The Maori Party rightly draws our attention to Maori radio. After 6 years in power they managed to secure an increase for iwi radio.
 nz-first.jpg We will explore TV One and Radio New Zealand establishing a common complementary administrative and logical system. 6/10
 utd-future.jpg No response 6/10 In general supports Radio NZ
 conservative.jpg No response 4/10 No policy
 national.jpg No response 3/10 National has frozen funding for Radio NZ
 act.jpg No response 0/10 ACT believes the Government should not own broadcasters, therefore would sell Radio NZ.


Question 3 - CBB recommends a levy on the revenue of commercial broadcasters and internet service providers to fund public service broadcasting and media. Is your party in agreement with this? What others ways would your party fund non-commercial broadcasting and media in New Zealand?
  They say... We say...
 internet-mana.jpg Yes.   10/10
green.jpg The Green Party considers that legislation needs to be reviewed around how much money is currently charged through the frequency licensing system and that any additional money from this revenue stream should be re-invested in public broadcasting.   5/10 Impossible to change until the next license issue in 2032. Redistributing current amounts wouldn’t cover a television channel or increases for Radio NZ
 nz-first.jpg We will consider carefully any detailed proposals. 4/10 Fairly non-committal
maori.jpg  We appreciate that levies are commonplace through every sector of business. Hon Craig Foss recently created a levy on all company returns to fund the Financial Markets Authority.We believe, however, that further discussion needs to be had with interested parties before unilaterally introducing another levy. 4/10 Sounds like ‘no’
 labour.jpg Labour will establish a working group to report on funding options and the cost of re-establishing a commercial Public Service Television Station paralleling and probably within Radio New Zealand. 4/10 Non-committal
 utd-future.jpg No response 0/10
 conservative.jpg No response 0/10
 national.jpg No response 0/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10


Question 4 - Government departments play a vital role in shaping broadcasting. Should MBIE and MCH set aside frequencies for non-commercial television broadcasters? Should NZ on Air be changed?
  They say... We say...
green.jpg  Yes and yes.   The Green Party considers that it is essential we review the mechanisms for allocating radio and television frequencies to Maori, public and community broadcasters.   NZ on Air’s mandate should be more specifically targetted to public service broadcasting. Funding criteria should be reviewed to ensure that public money is not funding what would otherwise be commercially viable. 10/10
 internet-mana.jpg Yes.  And yes, including at the governance level. There needs to be greater public control with less government appointed members and more community appointed members. 10/10
maori.jpg  Over recent years, work has been undertaken to prepare the 700 MHz spectrum (the so-called ‘digital dividend’) for auction for commercial purposes. Māori have consistently asserted interests in radio spectrum on the basis that it is a taonga guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Waitangi. Within the context of the 700 MHz band, Cabinet considered a submission about Allocation of the Digital Dividend: Consideration of Māori Interests in February 2013.The Māori Party notes that the Crown has declined to accept that the radio spectrum is a taonga under Article Two of the Treaty, or that Treaty principles require that Māori be given a share of rights in relation to the radio spectrum.The Māori Party will continue to support the original claimants and their commitment to raising the discussion around reservation of the spectrum as a Treaty right.   In the end, Cabinet decided to allocate $30m to support Māori ICT development. The Māori ICT Fund will support Māori to participate in the ICT sector as they see fit, and to develop relationships with the partners they want to engage in. 6/10 At least the Maori Party know what they’re talking about, even if they have no interest in non-Maori broadcasting.
 labour.jpg Last year Labour announced the first stage of our broadcasting policy – to ensure that sufficient spectrum space is ring-fenced for non-commercial broadcasters and any future public broadcaster to make sure that that non-commercial broadcasting which is vital to an informed and engaged society is available in all households. 6/10 Great but no mention of NZ on Air
 nz-first.jpg New Zealand First supports improved processes and funding mechanisms (including via New Zealand On Air) in order to develop the amount and quality of New Zealand content. 5/10
 national.jpg No response 2/10 Show no interest in reserving frequencies for non-commercial use, and keeps the NZ on Air model but with current funding
 utd-future.jpg No response 1/10
 conservative.jpg No response 1/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10 ACT believes the Government should not own broadcasters, therefore would probably close NZ on Air


Question 5 - Does your party recognise the educational value of broadcasting for children and adults? If elected how would your party encourage more educational media and broadcasting?
  They say... We say...
labour.jpg  Yes, educating and informing both children and adults is the key purpose and value of public service broadcasting. As such the focus of our new public service broadcaster will be to educate and inform while entertaining.  8/10
 maori.jpg Yes. Media and broadcasting are such an integral part of our everyday lives and it is important that we encourage more educational media and broadcasting in order to stimulate the minds of children and adults in a way that keeps them engaged and entertained. In particular, we recognise the value that iwi radio and Maori TV has on maintaining te reo in Maori households and exposing the language to children and adults. We are proud that the increased hours launched on the Te Reo channel will focus on children and rangatahi programming from 4.30pm until 6pm. 8/10 Totally get it though focussed only on Maori learning
 internet-mana.jpg Develop specific commitments to increase educational media and broadcasting, including Maori language and culture, and include in a new charter for public broadcasters. 8/10
 green.jpg The Green Party recognises the importance of quality public broadcasting for both adults and children.  We consider that it is necessary to look at methods such as quotas to lift New Zealand made content, and in particular programming aimed at children and documentaries. New Zealand also needs to look at ways of providing commercial free broadcasting channels (either radio or television) so that programming supporting these goals is both available to a wide audience and at suitable times. The Green Party also considers that quotas are necessary to lifting broadcasting content so that we can see and hear more of New Zealand actually on air. 7/10 Impractical as quotas are outlawed by the GATS and CER free trade agreements. Otherwise nice words.
 nz-first.jpg Yes.  We support measures to raise broadcasting standards. 6/10 Good intentions but lacking detail
 utd-future.jpg No response 2/10
 conservative.jpg No response 2/10
 national.jpg No response 0/10 Have had 6 years to do something but have not.
 act.jpg No response 0/10 ACT believes the Government should not fund broadcasting


Question 6 - A healthy democracy relies on robust reporting and discussion of policies. This doesn’t always align with commercial news objectives which favour a focus on personalities and shallow sensation. What could your party do to encourage the production of high quality public interest journalism?
  They say... We say...
labour.jpg  Our new public service broadcaster will be a new outlet for quality journalism in the same way that its parent RNZ currently is. 10/10 Good solid policy
 nz-first.jpg New Zealand First supports community-based television and radio broadcasting. 8/10
 internet-mana.jpg Develop specific commitments to increase high quality public interest journalism, including Maori produced Maori stories, and include in a new charter for public broadcasters. 8/10
 maori.jpg Broadcast news journalism should always be focussed on the news that New Zealanders need to know. While we concede that it is clear that an element of personality is often needed to keep the public engaged and interested, there must be the highest level of professionalism displayed in terms of remaining neutral and shallow sensation should be separated from high quality public interest journalism. Where we see elements of bias or low-grade news being broadcast in an unusually high proportion, we will bring this to the attention of broadcasters as we have in the past, to ensure that they are constantly aware of the standards they must uphold. 7/10 Thoroughly understand the issues though don’t have a viable solution
 green.jpg Public Broadcasting is an essential part of any democratic society.  The Green Party is supportive of both reviewing Radio New Zealand’s current funding freeze, looking at ways to provide commercial free broadcasting via television and continuing funding at adequate levels to Maori Television. Māori Television has been at the forefront of providing quality public service broadcasting and needs to continue to be supported. 5/10 Nice words but no policy
 utd-future.jpg No response 2/10
 conservative.jpg No response 2/10
 national.jpg No response 0/10 Seems to be actively involved in undermining journalism.
 act.jpg No response 0/10 Probably not


Question 7 - New Zealand’s media ownership laws are weak by international standards, and are likely to be affected by the TPPA. Does your party consider this a problem? If so how would you fix it?
  They say... We say...
maori.jpg  The Maori Party does not support the TPPA. In 2006 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, visited New Zealand.Recommendation 104 of the report from Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen concluded that “Public media should be encouraged to provide a balanced, unbiased and non-racist picture of Maori in New Zealand society, and an independent commission should be established to monitor their performance and suggest remedial action”. The Māori Party believes the time has come for this recommendation to be actioned. 10/10
 green.jpg The Green Party is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), currently being negotiated between New Zealand and eight other countries. This agreement is more than just a trade agreement. According to leaked draft texts of the TPPA it contains provisions that could weaken local content rules for the media. As a supporter of public broadcasting we will continue to oppose this agreement. 10/10
 internet-mana.jpg Yes. MANA is strongly opposed to the TPPA. 10/10
 nz-first.jpg We do consider this a problematic area which is why we have said from the outset that all trade agreements should be open and not be made behind closed doors. 5/10
 labour.jpg The real focus should be on content. Kiwis should be able to see and hear Kiwi faces, views, ideas and opinions on their screens. We believe that NZ-On-Air remains the best way of ensuring this. 0/10 Avoids the question
 utd-future.jpg No response 0/10
 conservative.jpg No response 0/10
 national.jpg No response 0/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10


Question 8 - Sky channels Kidzone24 and Heartland screen programmes made with NZ on Air funding. What measures would your party put in place to ensure taxpayers have free access to programmes they have already paid to create?
  They say... We say...
green.jpg  Sky should be required to pay for and carry NZ on Air funded programmes on their free-to-air channel. They should also be required to carry and pay for TVOne, including any non-commercial news. 8/10 Good points
 internet-mana.jpg As part of the contractual obligations, MANA would ensure there are commitments for SKY to screen free to air, and time limits for SKYTV to air. 8/10
 maori.jpg We believe that all NZ on Air funded programmes should be freely available to all New Zealanders and would suggest that such programmes are only aired on free-to-air channels. We note also that Te Reo – the Māori Language channel – is available only on digital and can be accessed via Freeview Satellite channel 24 and Sky channel 59. 7/10 Not all the Heartland and  Kidzone programmes are NZ on Air funded but the intention is good.
 labour.jpg An establishment working group will be formed to address this issue and to ensure that our new public service broadcaster can make the best use of archived programmes and footage for the benefit of audiences. 7/10
 nz-first.jpg We support local content on television and radio broadcasting, and believe that we should maximise its accessibility to all New Zealanders. 6/10 Doesn't really answer the question
 utd-future.jpg No response 0/10
 conservative.jpg No response 0/10
 national.jpg No response 0/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10


Question 9 - If elected how would your party encourage more cultural and community diversity in our media and broadcasting?
 labour.jpg Establishing a new public service broadcaster will ensure there is greater diversity of content. 10/10
 internet-mana.jpg Redevelop and reintroduce a charter for public broadcasters. 10/10
 nz-first.jpg New Zealand First will promote diverse, innovative and quality programming, including programmes that reflect New Zealand’s identity, character and cultural diversity. We have a large Pacific community in New Zealand which is why we also believe that we need to improve Radio New Zealand’s presence and services to the Pacific region. 7/10
 maori.jpg We would like to see more use of te reo in mainstream television in order so that the language becomes an everyday part of every New Zealand household. We promote te reo to be compulsorily available in all schools, and would consider pushing for more Maori language programmes to be aired on mainstream television at peak viewing hours. 6/10 Good policy for Maori language but ignores other ethnicities and diversities
 green.jpg The Green Party strongly supports community and Māori broadcasting. The Green Party would ensure that the regulatory framework for broadcasting provides ongoing security over both broadcasting rights and funding, for Maori and community access broadcasters   Ensure that the Maori and community access broadcasting sectors are able to grow and develop in a manner that reflects their audience’s changing interests, needs and aspirations. 6/10 Nice words but unspecific details
national.jpg  No response 3/10 Has increased funding to captioning for the deaf and people learning English as 2nd language
 utd-future.jpg No response 0/10
 conservative.jpg No response 0/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10


Question 10 - Rapid media convergence means government regulations quickly become outdated. What structural changes (if any) would your party make to allow government to react in this dynamic environment, while still protecting people and intellectual property?
green.jpg  The Green Party considers that in the future it will be necessary to create a new Broadcasting body or Broadcasting Commission or expand the role of a Telecommunications Commissioner to set rules relating to any obligations attached to the right to broadcast such as minimum local content quotas; as well as issues relating to digital convergence, cross-media and multi-media ownership, and monitor and enforce those rules. 10/10
 labour.jpg Labour will review the various pieces of broadcasting, telecommunications and classification legislation to bring them up to date for the digital age. Recognising the growing trends of convergence and its effect on new/traditional media and classification processes, Labour will bring together the classification regimes for traditional and online media services. Traditional classification processes are not fit for the digital age and result in established broadcasters operating under the Broadcasting Act, while new online content distribution services fall under the Film, Literature and Video Classification Act, or do not come under either Act. Labour will also undertake a full review of the Copyright Act, with the aim of introducing a new Copyright Bill by 2015 that updates and extends the framework for digital copyright in New Zealand.  10/10
 nz-first.jpg New Zealand First considers that there are significant challenges in the area of privacy and intellectual information.  There must be stringent checks and balances in place to ensure that privacy and information property is adequately protected. 6/10
 internet-mana.jpg Strengthen the capacity of NZ on Air to monitor and possibly establish an equivalent body to monitor the internet. 6/10
 maori.jpg The protection of people and intellectual property is of the utmost importance and should always be at the forefront of government thinking when reacting to changes in the media and broadcasting. 5/10
 national.jpg No response 1/10 Acknowledge the need but no action
 utd-future.jpg No response 0/10
 conservative.jpg No response 0/10
 act.jpg No response 0/10


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