TVNZ and RNZ to merge, create new public broadcaster

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

New Zealand will have a new public broadcaster by the middle of next year, with TVNZ and RNZ set to merge.

Generic photo of a microphone

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said cabinet has accepted the business case provided by the Strong Public Media Business Case Governance Group, set up in 2021.

He said the new entity will be “built on the best of RNZ and TVNZ, to future-proof public media for New Zealanders for decades to come”.

An establishment board will be appointed next month to oversee the detailed design of the entity and the change process, with the aim of having it operational by 1 July 2023.

“Ensuring New Zealanders continue to have access to reliable, trusted, independent information and local content sits at the heart of the decision to create a new public media entity.

“The public media sector is extremely important to New Zealanders in providing them with high quality, independent, timely and relevant media content,” said Faafoi.

Government funding decisions will be made as part of Budget processes, and the broadcaster will have “complete editorial independence receiving commercial and Crown funding for operations”.

It will carry advertising, while ensuring commercial-free services will continue like RNZ Concert.

The broadcaster will operate under a charter set out in legislation, and will be expected to deliver on the Crown’s Te Tiriti obligations.

“We know the media landscape is changing and the sector is having to adapt to increased competition, changing audience demands and ways of accessing media, falling revenue, and new and emerging digital platforms. We need public media which is responsive to these changes and can flourish.

“RNZ and TVNZ are each trying to adjust to the challenges, but our current public media system, and the legislation it’s based on, is focused on radio and television,” said Faafoi.

The public will be able to submit through the select committee process when legislation is considered later this year.

Currently RNZ is fully funded by the Government, while Television New Zealand receives 90% of its revenue from advertising.