Radio NZ service is safe for now

By Derek Cheng

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The future of Radio New Zealand seems secure for now, as the public radio service has persuaded the Government it has a viable plan for surviving under its existing budget.

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman said the plan did not include any job cuts and would not compromise the quality of the service.

"[Listeners] won't notice any difference, but we put some real pressure on them to put their house in order," Dr Coleman said.

"Radio NZ has done a pretty good job of realising where it needs to go, that there isn't any new money, and the challenge from here is to continue to come up with ways to make sure it remains relevant to a wide section of the population."

But Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman, Clare Curran, is sceptical.

"It's struggling to keep its head above water. By forcing Radio NZ to live within its means - code for strangling its funding - the quality of content will be compromised."

Last year, Dr Coleman exchanged tense emails with the Radio NZ board, urging them to adopt a new business model. "Members of boards who are not able or prepared to meet these expectations might need to move on or be replaced by members who can," he wrote then. The board has since had three new appointments.

Advertising and sponsorship were off the table at this stage, he said.

"I wouldn't be opposed to some sponsorship on Concert. I wouldn't have a problem with the BMW Beethoven series. It's something they've looked at, but in the end it didn't look like it would raise enough revenue."

- NZ Herald

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