New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has revealed the Party’s stance on a proposed single public broadcaster. He said it had been the NZ First policy to support and strengthen public sector media.
"For this reason, we welcome the initiative of Minister Faafoi to progress work in this area. Both Coalition partners are in agreement on the need to protect and future-proof TVNZ and RNZ."
A cross agency advisory group delivered a report to Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi last month. The group, which included representatives from both media companies, concluded the status quo was "unsustainable" and recommended the new entity be established.
While the overarching direction was set, Mr Peters said the details, design and costing had yet to be worked out. He also acknowledged that there were questions on whether TVNZ and RNZ could be sustainable as separate entities, facing a scenario where "scores of jobs are going to go in circumstances when they shouldn't".
Mr Peters said it possibly would be two separate entities but by combining their resources, values and assets.
"So, you can still have two separate voices and organisations, but that is for the decision-makers to decide."
The NZ First leader also acknowledged the plight of journalists, saying they are “underpaid and overloaded”.
"My party's fundamental position always has been and remains that a fourth estate is essential although sadly the news media is in dire straits."
"The case for help is clear. The digital revolution has its advantages, but the shift in advertising revenue from the traditional outlets in Google and Facebook is suffocating the industry,” Mr Peters added.
Minister Kris Faafoi had to secure support from NZ First before any progress can be made, and a Cabinet decision will have to be made with a business case to be done next year.
Mr Peters couldn't say what the agenda for Monday’s meeting was but "this stance today sets the scene for a more focused decision-making process".