Home > Media, The Body Politic > Public Broadcasting – down, but not out.

Public Broadcasting – down, but not out.



If there is one thing that the demise of TVNZ7 has highlighted, it is National’s inability to read the public mood. It has also demonstrated, with stark, glaring reality, that National has little interest in maintaining social services. If it can close them down, with minimum fall-out,  it will.

National could easily have funded TVNZ7. At roughly $16 million per annum, itwas probably the cheapest public broadcaster of any nation on this planet.

It simply chose not to. Because it didn’t want to.

TVNZ7  was a non-commercial station, and therefore made no money for National.

It probably also took viewers away from the state-owned, money-making, TV1 and TV2, thereby lessening the dividend paid to State coffers.

Yet, TVNZ7’s viewership was growing – past one million viewers per month. It was offering intelligent programming that was light-years ahead of most of what any other Broadcaster was providing the public.  People can only take so much “reality” shows; infomercials; grim, misogynistic US crime/cop shows; US “comedies” (anyone for a re-run of “Friends“?); and soft-core porn like “The GC“.

None of which mattered one jot to John Key and his materialistic-minded fellow MPs, nor their right-wing philistine-supporters  who deride  non-commercial broadcasting because it doesn’t fit  their moronic world-view of Market Rules.

Above everything that National has mis-managed; stuffed-up; or run-down – their wilful failure to preserve TVNZ7 speaks volumes about their culture of crass materialism and lack of understanding about the needs of society.

They simply could not understand why people wanted TVNZ7 saved. They did not want to understand.

Which is a dangerous thing to have, when a country’s governing Party doesn’t understand the needs of it’s own people. Such a Party is out of touch, and it’s little wonder that the Nats have made so many cuts that even our Navy is in dire danger of collapsing; the Police are considering marching on Parliament; and the education sector is in open revolt against their own Minister.

This is a re-run of the late 1990s.

Labour and the Greens have promised to resurrect public broadcasting in this country.

This blogger  commends them for that.

But we need more than a public broadcaster. We need strong mechanisms put in place to entrench a non-commercial television station, to protect it from future interference by a right wing government of simple-minded fools. Such a mechanism will require legislation and the power of contracts to guarantee the viability of a public broadcaster

Those contracts have to be cast-iron, with penals for breaches  so great, that no future National leadership will even countenance interference.

In the meantime, National has won this round against it’s own citizens. In Syria, their government kills their own people. Here in New Zealand, if a government wants to exercise vindictive power, it simply takes away part or all of  a social service.

That’s how National operates.

Only the naive expect otherwise.





And wouldn’t it be fun if, on Monday morning, everyone who supports TVNZ7 phoned John Key’s office…

Phone: (04)817 6800
Fax:     (04)472 2075



= fs =

  1. 1 July 2012 at 1:07 am

    TVNZ 7 almost had me buying a TV (well, a decoder for my pc anyway) but, then, NACT decided that they didn’t want it any more and so I decided not to buy a TV. Law of unintended consequences I suppose. Don’t suppose anybody knows what the trends for total viewer-ship is?

    The bit about the navy is also amusing. It’s the conservatives that are usually the hawks but they also seem to be the ones that run the our armed forces down to the point that they can no longer do their job. This happened in the 1990s under National and it’s happening again now after the last government actually fixed quite a bit of the damage done in the 1990s.

  2. 1 July 2012 at 7:32 am

    Draco, the only viewership numbers I’ve heard is 1.6 million – evidently the most recent viewing numbers,

    “Apart from the fact that the government’s dismissal of TVNZ7’s significance was premised on a flawed interpretation of the 4-week cumulative ratings, the latest figures show that 1.6 million people- over a third of the population- find something on 7 at least once a month that they prefer over the content available on other channels. ” – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1206/S00194/public-disservice-broadcasting-the-shameful-demise-of-tvnz7.htm

    Coleman even got that bit wrong when he underestimated the viewing numbers. When pointed out to him he’d stuffed up the numbers, he said it didn’t affect his decision on the issue.

    Of course not. Never let it be said that a National minister lts facts get in the way of ideology. Whatever next? A concept of social good?

    Well, that’s my TV viewing cut by about 75%…

    Interesting comments you’ve made about th running down of our Navy and other state services. It is indeed a repeat of the 1990s. (Where the police did march on Parliament! A pity the boys in blue didn’t arrest Bolger, Shipley, English, Ryall, et al.)

    It seems the middle class have a shockingly poor memory when it comes to political performance…

  3. 1 July 2012 at 8:51 am

    ….and it’s already killing off its citizens here in NZ…

  4. tauranga bob
    1 July 2012 at 9:37 am


  5. 1 July 2012 at 10:31 am

    Wouldn’t it be fun if, on Monday morning, everyone who supports TVNZ7 phoned John Key’s office…

    Phone: (04)817 6800
    Fax: (04)472 2075

    • 1 July 2012 at 10:51 am

      Thats wishful thinking, there were many oppose to the closure but u said just on a million, but national is still going ahead with their plans…all i can say is nationals got ear muffs over their ears…n we r counted as another tax tit to feed off

  6. Peter Martin
    1 July 2012 at 11:26 am

    An excellent post from Extra Channels which I think puts a proper perspective in place…

    ‘Meanwhile NZ on Air funded $6,672,500 for the 5th series of Go Girls for 13 hours of shows (minus the time of ads) , the 2nd series of the Almighty Johnsons for $6,900,000 and the 2nd Series of Nothing Trivial for $6,618,000. That’s 39 hours of TV funded by subsidies for commercial television minus ads so call it 30 hours of TV for $19 million, which is more than a whole year of funding TVNZ7 at $16.7 million or whatever the figures were. This is crazy, crazy public policy. In fact that’s just absolutely mental.’


    Why is this Government so driven to make this country a cultural desert?

  7. Deb J
    1 July 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I’m really going to miss TVNZ7, but the fight was unsuccessful, it’s gone. In the grand scheme of things there are some other issues that are so much bigger. What about asset sales?

  8. FR
    2 July 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I phoned the PMs office. A very nice lady called Grace answered and I asked her to pass on my message that I was disgusted at the closure of TVNZ7 and won’t be voting National again, ever. She was quite good about it and said she’d pass it on to Key.

  1. 1 July 2012 at 5:46 am
  2. 17 January 2013 at 3:17 pm
  3. 23 February 2013 at 9:19 pm

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