Nearly one-fifth of all music played on commercial radio stations last year was New Zealand-made, almost one-third more than the previous year, and nearly 10 times what it was in 1995.

The Radio Broadcasters Association figures for last year showed 18.6 per cent of music played on radio stations was local, more than the 16 per cent target.

It was an increase on the 14 per cent in 2003, 15 per cent in 2002 and 11 per cent in 2001.

The voluntary target for local music has existed since March 2002, when broadcasters and the industry agreed to aim for 20 per cent of local music by the end of next year.

The agreement was brokered by then Broadcasting minister Marian Hobbs, who dangled the threat of New Zealand music quotas if the stations did not make their own arrangements.

David Innes, acting chairman of the Music Performance Committee which monitors the stations, said he was confident the target would be reached.

The rock stations were already over the five-year target of 20 per cent - they set a target of 22 per cent and in 2004 played 26.8 per cent local music. Of those Channel Z, re-launched last week as Kiwi FM, with 100 per cent New Zealand content, played most local music.

Regional stations showed the strongest results in the two adult contemporary categories.

The Port, an independent station in Timaru, and Hokonui Gold, in Gore, played more New Zealand music than their big-city counterparts.

The Edge was the top pop station, Flava the best urban station, and Easy Listening I played most in the easy listening category.

The only category not to beat its target was the urban hip hop stations, which played 12.6 per cent of local content, well short of the 16 per cent aim.

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said the 18 per cent was a big jump from 1995, when just 2 per cent of music on commercial radio was local.

Recording Industry Association of New Zealand chief executive Terence O'Neill-Joyce said the voluntary targets were working well.

"But why stop at the 20 per cent? There is a real danger the stations will give a sigh of relief when they get 20 per cent and think the Government will get off their back and they can just sit on 20 per cent.

"I see no reason why we can't live in a country which has at least 50 per cent of our own voice."

Mr Innes was also worried that a possible law change allowing people to take one copy of a recording for personal use would hinder the rise of New Zealand music.

The current law prohibits any copying of a track or album, making it more difficult for bootleggers to do wide-scale rip-offs.

"But if the amendment passes and you find someone with a burned CD, you don't know if it was legally done as a personal copy or part of a massive bootlegging operation," he said.

"It makes it virtually impossible to get anyone for bootlegging."

NZ radio plays 2004

Radioscope reported 21 Kiwi tracks were in the top 100 music plays on radio in 2004.

Five Kiwi tracks were in the top 20 - Arithmetic, Saving the World and Lifeline by Brooke Fraser, Getting Stronger by Adeaze, and Dreaming by Scribe.

American rock group Alien Ant Farm's Glow was the most-played track on New Zealand radio.