PM: Potential RNZ-TVNZ merger would not harm commercial broadcasters

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Jan 2020, 9:22PM
Jacinda Ardern says that she does not believe public broadcasting will detract from commercial players. (Photo / NZ Herald)

PM: Potential RNZ-TVNZ merger would not harm commercial broadcasters

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Jan 2020, 9:22PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to strengthen, not weaken, public broadcasting, as the question lingers over what will happen to RNZ and TVNZ. 

Cabinet is reported to be going ahead with a plan to merge Radio New Zealand and TVNZ into a new combined public broadcaster.

It would be a company with a clear public service mandate, but with some scope to fund its operations through commercial and advertising revenue.

A previous proposal had faced pushback from Cabinet late last year.

Asked about the report on The Country, Ardern did not reveal any specifics, but told Jamie Mackay that the country needs a public broadcaster. 

"We need to make sure we are telling New Zealanders stories, and if you solely have a commercial focus, then that means your not as necessarily likely to have those stories being told." 

Asked if a merger would draw away from commercial media companies, Ardern says she does not believe public broadcasting is the issue for commercial companies, as Facebook and Netflix are the real competition. 

"When it comes to our job, we want to make sure we are strengthening New Zealand stories." 

Newstalk ZB has approached both Radio New Zealand and TVNZ for comment. Both organisations have declined.