The initiative provides $55m to support New Zealand’s media to continue to produce stories that keep New Zealanders informed and engaged and support a healthy democracy.

Who is it for?

The fund will be open to all NZ media entities: from large organisations through to small, local entities, and Māori, Pacific and ethnic media. Organisations must show their projects fill a public interest service and would otherwise be at risk or not produced without this fund’s support. This may include (and is not limited to) investigative journalism, data journalism and photo journalism.

The Investing in Sustainable Journalism initiative will provide transitional support to media organisations as the sector evolves in a way that ensures the longer-term sustainability of New Zealand’s media.

How much funding is available?

The $55m fund is split across three years: $10m for the remainder of 2020/21, $25m in 2021/22 and $20m in 2022/23.

Why is the $55 million being phased over three years?

This initiative is designed to build a critical bridge between the short term Covid relief provided to the media sector and the longer-term initiatives we have underway. The funding will support the vital public interest journalism function within the sector while the sector adapts and evolves.

By phasing the funding over three years, we strike a balance of providing support without creating dependency and ultimately deliver the most long-term sustainable solution for the sector.

Why is NZ On Air administering the fund?

NZ On Air has 30-plus years experience in funding applications assessment and distribution of funds to a broad array of NZ media and content makers. We have the systems, processes and people to swiftly implement a robust, accountable system for allocating funding for journalism.

NZ On Air already funds a number of journalism initiatives from within the Factual funding stream. These include the Stuff Circuit and Newsroom Investigates investigative reporting strands, the daily news podcast The Detail, the kids news strand Kea Kids News, and a number of specialist current affairs, news generating programmes such as Q & A, The Nation and The Hui. NZ On Air also partners with RNZ and the NPA on the Local Democracy Reporting scheme, and funds some regional journalism.

But we are also adding specialised expertise to the team for this funding initiative.

Consultation with the sector (underway) is being run for us by Hal Crawford, a media executive with 25 years' experience in digital and broadcast, having worked as Chief News Officer at Mediaworks in Auckland and Editor-in-Chief at ninemsn in Sydney. Hal’s consultancy on this journalism initiative comes off the back of a recent comprehensive review he undertook (yet to be published) to assess the impact of the NZ Media Fund since its launch in 2017.

We also intend to employ a Head of Journalism and a Funding Advisor – Journalism. These roles will be advertised shortly.

Who will be eligible for the funding?

NZ On Air is currently consulting with the sector on key points that will define the funding scheme. This consultation will inform the shape of the first funding round. From there, the process will be iterative – what is learned from the first round will be applied to the second round, for eg.

We anticipate the fund providing support for reasonable personnel costs and supporting resources associated with producing and sharing content.

We also anticipate the fund will build capability by providing necessary infrastructure support as well as training and development.

When will details be announced – when will funding flow?

Late March 2021: NZ On Air will announce further details of the funding scheme.

April: Funding application guidelines issued.

By end April 2021: First funding round will be open for submissions.

By end June 2021: First round of funding decisions announced.

Want to be kept informed?

If you’d like to be kept informed as we progress through the above process you can email

You can read more about the background to this funding initiative on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website at