New state media entity may be just around the corner

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Lights, camera and action on a new public media entity.

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi today named eight industry experts who will oversee the development of a business case "to consider the viability of a new public media entity."

"The business case will look at how a potential new public media entity could meet the changing expectations of New Zealand audiences and support a strong, vibrant media sector,” he said.

The entity would be multi-platformed and "fit for purpose" including sharing indigenous perspectives.

“A new public media entity would operate with a mixed funding model, drawing part of its revenue from commercial sources, and part from government funding. It would provide content across a variety of platforms and have full editorial and operational independence from the government, enshrined in legislation," Faafoi said.

 A new public media entity would operate in a way that complemented and collaborated with private media.

'Strong basis to build'

 The group would assess high-performing entities like TVNZ and RNZ. Whether that will include authentic Māori representation is yet to be fleshed out.

“RNZ and TVNZ are high-performing entities that have served New Zealanders well," Faafoi said. "They provide a strong basis on which to build for the future. "

However, group chair and former New Zealand First cabinet minister Tracey Martin said the group  "does not have the ability to offload responsibility" for Te Reo Māori and the positive representation of culture.

No air time has been given to Māori TV and iwi radio in this revamp by the Minister and although Martin says that Māori Television will eventually be part of the conversation it is clear that the time to talk to unique providers like Māori TV and iwi radio is not on the cards yet. "Certainly Māori Television will be part of the conversation. It has to be part of the conversation when we have something to discuss," Martin said. 

And Faafoi said that alongside work to assess the option of creating a new public media entity, the Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson,was leading work to enhance support for the Māori media sector.

As for the group's sole Māori representative, Bailey Mackey is making his intentions clear, saying he wants to ensure Te Tiriti is upheld throughout the process.

The business case is due to be finished by mid-year and the Cabinet will be provided with a concept to create a new public media entity before the end of the year.