Welcome to October!
It's been a busy few weeks tackling the Government's $370million wasteful spending on the proposed merger of RNZ and TVNZ into Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media. The Government has no clear reason for the merger and during a cost of living crisis it is a terrible use of taxpayers dollars. I've been putting questions to the Minister and you can read more about what's going on below ⬇️⬇️⬇️
We also formally bade farewell the Queen of New Zealand, Elizabeth II, with a State Memorial Ceremony I had the immense privilege to attend with many of my National Caucus Colleagues and other leaders from all New Zealand walks of life. With over 70 years of devotion to the Commonwealth and the wider world she was truly a great leader of our times.
The final results are still rolling in but I want to give a congratulatory shout out to everyone around New Zealand who has been elected to local government this month. The role of locally elected leaders is vital in maintaining New Zealand's democratic values and decision-making. Best of luck to you all!
A few days ago, the Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson came before the EDSI Committee to outline his reasoning for the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill. In short, what he did instead was criticize TVNZ for not being on board with his bizarre plans to spend $370million. The committee received more than 900 submissions on the Minister’s plans with many expressing serious concerns over his proposals. Many are concerned at the impact the new Public Media Entity monolith may have on the future of commercial media in our country.
This past week I’ve been putting concerns to the Minister himself in the House.
I suggest you watch for yourself. His answers are a joke and it’s clear he’s dropping the ball for the future of our media landscape.
Some have expressed dismay at the thought of hundreds of millions being spent to establish this new Entity and then to keep it afloat for the years ahead without value to the taxpayer. This massive cost could instead clear the cancer patient waiting list funding desperately needed medications with more left over to tackle the worst surgical wait list in the past decade affecting tens of thousands of New Zealanders in need.
Others still are concerned at the potential loss of independence for the new Entity, being established as an Autonomous Crown Entity that must have regard to the policies of the Government of the day, as opposed to the limitations set on RNZ and TVNZ at present. In the words of Dr Gavin Ellis and Sir Peter Gluckman, the merger legislation “is so incomplete and raises so many issues that it would be unsafe to enact it in its present form”. It is vital the Minister understands these plans are simply not fit for purpose and he needs to go back to the drawing board. RNZ and TVNZ, are cherished institutions for many New Zealanders. They both have some faults that need to be addressed but the solution is not throwing good money after bad while debt borrowing levels continue to rise in our country.
The future of New Zealand’s media landscape is being put at severe risk by the Minister’s plans because they will reduce plurality in the market. New Zealand on Air have confirmed they’ll be handing over a lion’s share of their funding to the new Entity taking away contestability to other platforms across New Zealand.
New Zealand needs to have a serious conversation about the future of our media landscape. We need to have a frank, open and honest conversation about what, if any, public media platforms we should have in New Zealand. We need to discuss how much the state should be involved in content funding and decision-making and above all, we need to have this conversation openly with full public transparency rather than millions spent on businesses cases, Ministerial working groups, and secretive reviews. Whether intended or not the Public Interest Journalism Fund has been an unmitigated disaster for perception of media trust in New Zealand and the implications of a giant publicly owned media entity that could end up succeeding it’s mandate will only further diminish that trust. With the new Entity we have next to no details as to what the entity is, how it will operate, who will run it and what the real costs will be long term.
Bluntly, New Zealanders cannot be expected to support the new Entity on a ‘wing and a prayer’. We need to see real reasons and real facts to decide. We don’t need high level talking points and wishful thinking when media sector jobs in New Zealand and trust in the fourth estate are on the line, let alone $370million and counting in wasteful spending.
It’s time the Government took a step back and pauses their plans for the future of the New Zealand media.
Diwali 2022Communities across New Zealand have began celebrating the wonderful festival of Diwali with Auckland and Waitakere Diwali celebrations kicking off the season.
Diwali is known also as 'The Festival of Lights' signifying the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life. Many different faiths and cultures commemorate Diwali as an important occasion for their identity, particularly as we build our own uniquely New Zealand style of Diwali celebrations together.
Pothole of the Week
Across New Zealand far too many roads are now peppered with potholes causing damage to our vehicles and yet more roading delays under Labour.
National have launch our Pothole of the Week campaign to highlight some of the worst examples in the community.
Send a clear message to the Government it's time to get this sorted by adding your name here: https://www.national.org.nz/fixthepotholes
You can also share photos of local pothole hazards using the hashtag #fixthe potholes (remember to only take photos if safe to do so)
Below are a couple of terrible examples in Mt Albert, the Prime Minister's own electorate!
My Auckland Office at 107 Great South Road is open for appointments.
My Office team all play an important and vital role supporting me and representing your needs in the New Zealand Parliament on everything from constituent cases to communications support.
We have Chinese and Korean language support available in office and can engage with other language support upon request.
Looking forward to talking again soon and keep warm!
Until next time!
National List MP based in Auckland
Authorised by Melissa Lee Parliament Buildings, Wellington
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