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July 18, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

TVNZ Heads Into Unchartered Waters

The TVNZ charter was eradicated in Parliament last Tuesday, as the TVNZ amendment bill passed by a vote of 64 to 56. This signals the end of its obligations to broadcast a set quota of New Zealand-made programming.

The criteria included broadcasting a TV line-up that promoted understanding of the diverse cultural background in New Zealand, while also featuring a significant Maori voice and New Zealand-produced programmes. In exchange for televising commercially unviable programming, TVNZ received $15million from the Government.

The charter’s demise has polarised opinion within Parliament. Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman believes the change to programming will be negligible.
“The removal of the charter will have little impact on what is shown on the screen. TVNZ will still screen content of relevance to a broad cross section of New Zealanders” he said. Coleman also stressed the opportunity TVNZ now has to focus solely on achieving their commercial goals.

On the other side of the House, Labour has been joined by the Greens in opposing the bill. Clare Curran, Labour’s broadcasting spokesperson, called the abolition “a huge shame for New Zealand.”

“Public service television in New Zealand died last night. The Government has failed to see the need and importance of state media” she said.

The charter was first established under Helen Clark’s leadership in 2003 and was subject to a review process when National took over. National abandoned the review and has had plans to abolish the charter since 2009.


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