$10.5 million boost to RNZ

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran has not yet got the full service RNZ television station she wishes for, but was able to announce a funding boost for RNZ today. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

RNZ will receive a $4.5 million boost in direct funding as well as access to a $6 million fund it will jointly administer with New Zealand on Air.

The announcement was made today by Minister of Broadcasting Clare Curran at RNZ’s Wellington headquarters.

The funding is a significant boost for the broadcaster, which survived a funding freeze between 2009 and 2017, but it falls significantly short of the $38 million boost to public broadcasting promised before the election.

That appeared to have been scrapped at the Budget after the fiasco surrounding Curran’s meeting with former RNZ Executive Carol Hirschfeld last year.

Curran’s ambition for the funding had been to establish a full-service TV station, tentatively titled RNZ +.

Curran told reporters on Wednesday that this remained her long-term ambition.

$500,000 has been earmarked for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to look at “opportunity and capacity for cross-media collaboration and efficiencies” as well as the level of funding needed in public media.

Curran said she had already started work on a Budget bid for 2019.

Joint innovation fund

The big news of the day was the announcement of the joint innovation fund, administered jointly by RNZ and NZ on Air.

This will allow independent production companies to contest funding for broadcast on RNZ platforms. The content may be broadcast on other channels, but RNZ will be the primary broadcaster and have the final say on commissioning.

The fund will look to better represent Maori and Pasifika voices.

NZ on Air will also receive a $4 million boost for additional contestable content.