In April, it was finally announced Parliament would be able to do the job prescribed in law under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995 and review the RNZ Charter. Public submissions are now open for your views until August 13 and as an opposition member of the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee hearing the Inquiry and the National Party Spokesperson for Broadcasting and Media I encourage you to make a submission.
I believe it is crucial that ethnic New Zealanders make their voice heard in the Review of the Radio New Zealand Charter because, as an integral and growing part of the New Zealand community, RNZ is meant to represent you and be a media choice you want to tune into. While we have many amazing ethnic community radio, broadcasting and media organisations (such as Indian Weekender!) our national public broadcaster has a duty to “reflect New Zealand’s cultural identity”. You are a part of that cultural identity and you as taxpayers are paying for the platform so I encourage you to make a submission if you have something to say because I and the New Zealand Parliament want to hear from you.
The Key Questions the Economic Development Science and Innovation Committee are asking you to provide feedback on are:
- How have the changes introduced to the Charter by the Radio New Zealand Amendment Act 2016 guided RNZ's operations?
- Are the principles of operation, outlined in the "Purpose" section of the Charter, still fit for purpose? Specifically we are focusing on the questions: Does RNZ currently provide reliable, independent, and freely accessible information? Does RNZ programming effectively reflect New Zealand's ethnic, cultural and artistic diversity?
- Are the standards and objectives, outlined in the "Delivery" section of the Charter, still fit for purpose? We are particularly interested in the following questions: Is RNZ utilising its platforms and modes of delivery effectively, especially given technological advancements? Does RNZ effectively preserve and archive material of historical significance? If so, what criteria does RNZ use to determine what is historically significant? Given RNZ's focus on increasing youth listenership, is RNZ adequately accounting for different age group audiences?
- Are any changes needed to the wording of the Charter?
From my perspective as National’s Spokesperson for Broadcasting and Media it is pretty clear a public radio station and/or non-commercial broadcaster will continue to exist in some form or another for years to come so it is vital all communities get a chance to be represented in discussions relating to its future. The RNZ Charter is the guiding document for Radio New Zealand and what it says is what RNZ will do for years of listeners and readers to come. Your voice to Parliament will be critical for the future of this public broadcaster.
Ethnic New Zealanders need to feel their voice is being heard and has stories that engage them from our pre-eminent public broadcaster, Simply put there is a problem if diverse voices in New Zealand do not believe RNZ reflects them or is a service they want and Parliament must act should this be the case.
I urge you all to submit to RNZ on whether you feel your voice is being heard on the airwaves and if not, what our Parliament can do to better support that voice being present on RNZ.
It’s time to talk radio.