A voter's guide to broadcasting policies

The Coalition for Better Broadcasting had hoped to make Broadcasting an election issue but between dirty politics and Kim Dotcom, there has been barely any room for discussion on the key policies of the economy, health, education and the environment let alone broadcasting.

I’ve had a look at the broadcasting policies of all the parties and have summarised details below. In some instances, there were no publicly available broadcasting policies that I could find. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist but due to the difficulty in being able to find them, it would be safe to assume that broadcasting wouldn’t be a high priority for them.

For National, their Broadcasting policy falls under Arts, Heritage and Broadcasting.

National’s key policy for Television this election is to make New Zealand television content more accessible. The suggestion is that this will be delivered via the UFB roll out as opposed to anything specific to broadcasting.

There is no mention of a sale of TVNZ.

It’s pretty light on substance and doesn’t introduce anything new.

There are three main components of Labour’s broadcasting policy:

• establish a working group to report on funding options to re-establish a Public Service Television Station.
• continue its strong commitment to the New Zealand content sector and a platform for free-to-air regional TV.
• work alongside the media industry to set up a new omnibus self-regulatory standards body to cover all media complaints and standards issues.

One thing to bear in mind with Labour’s policy is that committing to explore how much something will cost is not the same as committing to establishing a public service television station.

Successive governments have failed to take public broadcasting seriously and this appears to be more lip service.

The Greens Broadcasting Policy has many similarities with Labour and is the most indepth of all them.

The Greens want a 20% local content quota at TVNZ and set a minimum number of hours for local children’s content for FTA channels. Like National, they want to increase captioning. They also want to establish a new regulatory body. They would also like to turn TV One into a commercial free, New Zealand focused channel.

New Zealand First
New Zealand First’s Broadcasting Policy also has some similarities with Labour, particularly around combining TVNZ and Radio New Zealand.

New Zealand First wants to re-establish a FTA non-commercial public service channel based on the TVNZ7 model. Like Labour and The Greens, community and regional television is important.

The Conservative Party
The only info I could find on the Conservatives broadcasting policy was that they should have been given more air time during the election campaign.

United Future
United Future’s Broadcasting Policy wants to encourage the development of a public service channel.

Neither Act, the Maori Party, Internet Party or Mana party have a specific broadcasting policy they are promoting.

In summary, if your vote this election is purely because you want to see a public broadcasting channel established, the only parties that are absolutely committed to seeing that happen are the Green Party and New Zealand First. Labour only commits to investigating the cost of doing so while United Future likes the idea of a public broadcasting channel. National are more focused on making local content available through new digital distribution channels. None of the other parties have a publicly available broadcasting policy online.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Tania

    Thank you for posting this!

    You’ve raised very valid points in respect of Labour … I’ve worked in Government organisations for many years and can tell you there are more ‘think tanks’ and ‘feasibility studies’ going on than you can poke a stick at wihch never get off the ground for whatever reason. They seem to be saying the right things … but will we ever see any action?

    Interesting that National’s policy doesn’t go into more detail.

    NZ First’s sounds the most appealing to me.

    Interesting that you found it a mission to find any information at all from some of the parties, because I was hunting around for the various parties’ policies on healthcare this morning … ‘hunting’ being the operative word, because there doesn’t seem to be a complete ‘roadmap’ in existence like you would expect. Hopefully someone thinks to do this next time … an interactive application where you could select the area you’re interested in (e.g., ‘education’) from a drop-down box, which would then produce a visual map of sorts with a keyword for each party’s policy/ies (e.g., “Teacher Aides”), dates and any other useful information … clicking on the keywords would open up a new window which would delve into the detail of that policy.

    On a separate note, I just got back from the supermarket where I was asked by an Internet Party representative who I’m going to be voting for this weekend – I told him to bugger off and mind his own business; I called into a cafe to collect a coffee and was greeted at the door by the local Labour MP who was unashamedly begging for votes; in collecting my mail there was a personally addressed letter from the local National MP with the opening line “Please vote for me on 20 September”; and there was a voice recording from John Key asking the same (and my number is unlisted, I never give it out!). I don’t ever recall such desperado leading up to an election.