3 Jun 2003

Future of New Zealand's Pacific Radio Network up in the air after management contract cancelled

4:44 pm on 3 June 2003

The National Pacific Radio Trust says it may take months to decide the future of New Zealand's first national Pacific radio staion, Niu FM.

The government-appointed Trust cancelled its contract with Pacifika Communication Network Ltd, or PCNL, to run NIU FM over concerns of financial mismanagement, governance and conflict of interest.

PCNL was established by the Auckland Pacific Island Community Radio Trust which owns Radio 531 PI.

The Chair of the National Pacific Radio Trust, Simativa Perese, says the Ministers of Broadcasting and Pacific Island Affairs have yet to decide on how NIU FM should be run and who should oversee it.

Mr Perese says with the backing of the Ministers, PCNL was sacked in order to save NIU FM.

"probably until we appoint a full time chief executive officer, and found some new premises, if it's the decision of the trust, we'll continue with the operation.... and that may take some months , a couple to three months perhaps.....subject to further discussions, with ministers as to how the network will be delivered.... The government had a choice.... It could've pulled the funding.... We'd have no network, but we have the government support...It will continue."

Mr Perese says Shaun O'Neil, the General Manager of Radio Works, has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive Officer and that NIU FM staff have decided to stay with the network.

The government is investing 4.5 million U.S. dollars into NIU FM.