Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Radio NZ eyes shared quake city offices as $9m cost bites

Yesterday's geotechnical report means the cordon around the red zone could be gone by April. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Yesterday's geotechnical report means the cordon around the red zone could be gone by April. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Radio New Zealand's funding woes have been made worse by an estimated $9 million cost to set up a new office in Christchurch, but its chairman hopes to defray the costs by getting other media outlets to share the same base.

The Radio New Zealand statement of intent shows $9 million has been set aside to build new premises in Christchurch after its old building was ruined in the February 2011 earthquake.

It has been in temporary quarters since, and chairman Richard Griffin said it intended to build a new facility for a permanent base.

"But we would like to talk to all media companies about the possibility of a media centre in Christchurch."

He said such centres existed internationally and it would mean efficiencies in services and technology.

TVNZ, too, has been in temporary premises, but a spokeswoman said it was close to signing up for a new facility.

Radio NZ has not had a funding increase since 2009, forcing it to find other ways to make savings rather than cut its services. It intended to go ahead with an online-only youth radio site, which would include some Radio NZ content and "new tailor-made content produced as resources allow".

Mr Griffin said he believed there was a market for a web-based station aimed at youth and it would be a minimal cost.

He said ensuring Radio NZ maintained its services within its current funding was a challenge - it made about $2.5 million from selling some assets, including land in Wiri which it had used for now-redundant radio towers. It had also sold two of Concert Radio's grand pianos for about $100,000.

There had been significant growth in downloads of its podcasts and Mr Griffin had considered charging people overseas for downloads.

However, he said, that would be contrary to the spirit of Radio NZ's charter, and foreign use was low.

- NZ Herald

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