Govt's $38m public broadcasting boost still on table

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran. Photo: NZ Herald
Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran. Photo: NZ Herald

The government still expects to deliver the entire $38million boost in funding for public broadcasting promised by Labour prior to the election, says the Broadcasting Minister.

Last week's Budget announced just $15m and it has not yet been decided how the money will be spent.

Labour's policy promised expanding RNZ's multi-media services, including providing a free-to-air TV channel, at a cost of $38m.

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran told Mediawatch all ministers had to cut back on their spending given financial constraints.

The full policy will still be implemented, she insisted.

"There is a very strong expectation on me to come back with the right level of funding that is required, and I will have the resources to do that," she said.

"We didn't have the resources to do everything at once, but we have given a commitment to deliver on our promises."

People will see improved public broadcasting by the end the year, Ms Curran said.

RNZ's chief executive Paul Thompson [told Mediawatch he was not disappointed.

"I am a realist. There are other pressures on government money. The $15m allocation is still a significant investment for this sector and if we get a good share of that it will be significant for RNZ," he said.

An advisory group set up by Ms Curran has yet to make recommendations as to how the additional $15m will be split between RNZ and New Zealand On Air (NZOA), which allocates public money to a range of media platforms on a contestable basis.

RNZ and NZ On Air pitched proposals for the funding to an advisory group on 3 April.

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