Television New Zealand says it should be allowed to drop some of its election coverage because of terrible ratings.
The broadcaster has long been required by law to broadcast political parties' opening and closing election addresses.
But it says viewing patterns have changed and a sharp fall in ratings during the presentations - once central campaign events - justifies a change.
During the last election the opening addresses had ratings that were 38 per cent lower than the average for the six previous Saturday evenings.
"TVNZ has a commercial mandate ... based on this we believe the requirement under the Broadcasting Act for us to provide free time to parties for opening and closing election statements, during primetime, is out of step," a spokeswoman said. "Ratings support this point ... we suggest that Parliament TV is better suited to this specific function."
In a submission to the justice and electoral select committee, the broadcaster wants its obligations removed, or, alternatively, them extended to its commercial rivals.
The rise of the internet and social media has diluted television's role as the key method of communication with voters, TVNZ notes, and audiences are increasingly uninterested in the opening and closing statements, the spokeswoman said.
"RNZ [Radio NZ], which is also required to provide free broadcast time for opening and closing statements ... is still defined as a public radio company.
"TVNZ and RNZ may once have been stablemates ... but they are now chalk and cheese. It makes no sense that they should face the same obligations."
Labour leader Andrew Little said TVNZ's position confirmed the need for a genuine public service broadcast channel.
Television still carried a large audience and the addresses were part of a healthy democracy, Mr Little said.
"I think TVNZ have to remember too that they are a publicly owned organisation as well as being commercial.
"I don't think it's wrong for us to hold them to some public service requirements."
However, Steven Joyce, campaign manager for National during the last election, said he would be open to the addresses being scrapped.
There was a significant production cost, Mr Joyce said, and perhaps parties could be given additional advertising if the addresses were to go.
I think TVNZ have to remember too that they are a publicly owned organisation as well as being commercial.
"It's not like in the past when it was the opening broadcast and the printed manifesto that people could go to for detail on what a party was providing," Mr Joyce said.
TVNZ's submission said the drop in audience for the addresses did not show an apathy towards the election.
"The figures should be read against very high viewership of the three TVNZ leaders' debates, the strong participation in TVNZ's Vote Compass service ... and strong election-night viewership."
•An opening and closing address is a presentation on behalf of a party that is broadcast near the start of the campaign and on the evening before election day.
•TVNZ is required to broadcast the party addresses on one free-to-air channel with national coverage. Radio NZ is required to broadcast the addresses on National Radio.
•They must be broadcast between 7pm and 9pm.