Last attempt to save TVNZ7 launched

By Kate Shuttleworth, Claire Trevett

File photo /  Doug Sherring
File photo / Doug Sherring

Labour MP Clare Curran has drafted a member's bill to require TVNZ to fund the non-commercial channel TVNZ7 or a similar channel.

The Government announced it would stop funding the Freeview channel TVNZ7 - home to programmes such as Backbenches and the Court Report - in April last year. It will be wound-up at the end of June and will be replaced by broadcasts of TV One delayed by an hour - as TV3 does with its Freeview channel.

Ms Curran's bill establishes a Public Broadcasting Foundation, to be funded by TVNZ, to provide a channel which shows a broad range of programmes.

The bill was put into the members' ballot yesterday, but would not go before Parliament unless it is drawn out.

There are currently 57 members' bills in the ballot and a ballot had not be drawn today after slow progress last night.

Ms Curran said if the bill could get the support of United Future leader Peter Dunne - who is a supporter of TVNZ7 - she expected to have enough support for the bill to pass.

Ms Curran said TVNZ's current focus on its commercial performance meant it could not deliver the public broadcasting needed and it now had no requirement to do so.

She said in a small country such as New Zealand, commercial television can not provide the range of programming to meet the interests of a diverse population and there is no television equivalent to Radio NZ - the state radio broadcaster which also has no commercial revenue.

- NZ Herald

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