I am enjoying the challenges in the Broadcasting and Media portfolio and, despite what some of the cynics have said, I won't be compelling every broadcaster to become proficient in te reo Māori or demanding our language is on every show, or in everyone's face.
Of course I will be asking if there can be more of a Māori presence. After all Māori are still very much an afterthought in New Zealand mainstream media, and I know we can do better.
A key priority for me is to deliver on our plan for a new public media entity, built on the best of RNZ and TVNZ. The Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill was introduced to Parliament last month and I am looking forward to shepherding it through the House, and working with the Establishment Board on operational details for the new entity.
The new entity will serve all New Zealanders, including groups who are currently under-served and under-represented in our media. So it's not just Māori who I think should be prioritised, Pasifika must be, Asian and other ethnic people, and particularly our youth.
The face of New Zealand and democracy has changed dramatically in the past few years and we need to reflect New Zealand's new identity and democracy in our main media entities. So, more diversity is a major priority.
People want to hear themselves, see themselves, and know their communities and lives count. The entity will be editorially independent, deliver content on a range of platforms to ensure accessibility, and collaborate and support the wider New Zealand media sector.
Another area I'm actively exploring is how the Government can support news media to realise the value of the content they produce, particularly in relation to the use of that content by digital platforms like Google and Facebook.
The bargaining imbalance between these platforms and our news media does not lend itself to fair negotiation or payment. While some commercial arrangements have been reached with larger news media companies, I am considering how the Government can support the whole sector so that fair recognition is given. Too many businesses are hurting and something must be done to rectify the situation.
I am also working with my ministerial colleagues on cross-portfolio initiatives, for example on the Government's review of the screen sector, and to minimise the spread and impacts of harmful media content and foreign interference.
In terms of the investment in this project, the criticism of this is nonsensical. The line from the opposition is how can we do this given the other priority costs in the country, housing, health and education are always trotted out as examples of where our money should go.
The reality is they will always be priorities but we as a society must continue to develop, must be allowed to evolve, culture must go on. I mean, should we stop funding the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra until every social problem is fixed? Stop giving money to sports teams, our Olympians? Of course we shouldn't, and broadcasting and media are an incredibly important part of our society and must be funded appropriately.
In light of the changing media landscape, I'll also be considering how the Broadcasting Act, which was passed in 1989, could be modernised to reflect emerging needs and encourage coordination and efficiency.
By coincidence, 1989 was the year when I first started in the media as a sports broadcaster on Aotearoa Radio and in the subsequent years I worked as a talkback host, presenter commentator and columnist on Mana Māori Media, Mana Magazine, Radio Waatea, Whakaata Māori (Māori Television), TVNZ, Newstalk ZB, Radio Live and the Manukau Courier.
I have also held a number of senior operational and governance positions in nearly every area of Māori broadcasting and was the Alliance broadcasting spokesman from 1999 to 2002 when we were in government with Labour. I know this business and I know it's time for change.
Willie Jackson is Minister of Māori Development, Minister of Broadcasting and Media and Associate Minister of ACC.