29 Sep 2022

Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson cites 'no trust' in defence of public media entity

11:09 am on 29 September 2022

Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson is defending the mega public media merger, saying it is needed because the public does not trust the media.

Jackson has been repeatedly questioned at Parliament this week by the National Party over the proposal to fold TVNZ and RNZ into one entity.

He defended the shake-up yesterday, saying it was necessary because the public's view of the media had changed.

"The reality is we want TVNZ to work in tandem with us - and they're doing that - because New Zealand has changed. We have no longer a trust in national media - no longer is there a trust in what's happening at a national media level," he said.

"We need a trusted public broadcaster because national identity is incredibly important and no longer do people trust New Zealand television or New Zealand radio."

Labour MP Willie Jackson in the House

Labour MP Willie Jackson in the House Photo: ©VNP / Phil Smith

AUT research released this year found RNZ is New Zealand's most trusted news organisation, while TVNZ is the third. The survey did find, however, overall trust in news was declining.

National Party broadcasting spokesperson Melissa Lee was critical of the $327 million over three years set aside in this year's Budget for the new entity.

She asked Jackson if there had been cost benefit analysis of the plan, or a regulatory impact statement. He said he would "come back to the member on that", but was quickly pulled up on his response by the Speaker.

After further questions from Lee, Jackson asserted "we've had a clear cost-benefit analysis in terms of this project, come to my office and we'll show you".

Lee took up that offer after Question Time and during General Debate explained what happened next.

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National Party broadcasting spokesperson Melissa Lee. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

She waited 15 minutes to get access to his office and - Jackson then absent - was presented with a printed copy of the Bill.

It states a regulatory impact statement is not needed, because a business case for the proposal had been prepared.

Lee said that showed the government was making no attempt at openness or transparency and New Zealanders deserved better.

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