Strengthening public media

The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Hon. Kris Faafoi has today set out details of the proposal to strengthen public media.

We are encouraged by recognition of the challenges facing the media sector. You can read our Media Release in response to the announcement here.

A few key points for you, our very important stakeholders, on today’s announcement:

NZ On Air remains a key pillar of public media, continuing to administer contestable funding.

  • The Cabinet paper explicitly states that this is not a cost-cutting exercise – and that the objective is to strengthen public media, and not to weaken commercial media.
  • Diversity and plurality of voices is a core element of the proposed change and NZ On Air’s contestable funding will remain essential to this – an important recognition of the independent production sector and the private media who depend on NZ On Air funding for public media content.
  • Maintaining funding for the independent production sector underpins the creative industry and ensures public media content continues to be available on multiple platforms, for different audiences.

In the immediate future there is no change to what NZ On Air delivers:

  • The independent production community will still have access to a contestable fund.
  • Private media companies and TVNZ continue to have access to funded content.
  • Funding for RNZ continues to go through NZ On Air.

The Business Case being prepared for government will determine the viability of the proposed new single public media entity, as well as what relationship NZ On Air will have with it.

  • NZ On Air is actively involved in developing the Business Case, along with TVNZ and RNZ.

In addition, our support for NZ music continues unchanged, as does our operational funding for vital public media platforms and services such as Access Radio, Pacific radio, captioning and audio description etc.

There is much work to do. The first Stop/Go on this proposal is July this year when Cabinet will consider the Business case. We’ll keep you updated as and when we are able.

You can read more of the detail in the Cabinet papers which will be released later today here.

May round information

Please note there are tight restrictions on the new applications we are accepting to this round. This is the last funding round for the current financial year and 94% of the combined Factual and Scripted budget has been committed.

Please read the full May 2020 round information for applicants - Scripted, Factual, Industry Development Fund here.

Please read the full May 2020 round information for applicants - Platforms here.

May funding round priorities


  • There is approximately $2.2m available for general Factual applications. Taking into consideration the type of projects already funded and the level of funding available in the current financial year this round is open for projects that fit within the Fresh Opportunities strand of our Factual Roadmap.
  • We will consider a small number of shortlisted returning HEIHEI Children’s applications. These applicants have been informed to submit their applications to a closed HEIHEI funding round.
  • Development applications for complex Factual projects that require significant research and that are co-funded by the supporting platform will be accepted in this round.


  • No general Scripted production applications will be accepted.
  • We will consider a small number of shortlisted returning HEIHEI Children’s applications. These applicants have been informed to submit their applications to a closed HEIHEI funding round.
  • We will only be accepting Development applications for existing Scripted projects that have platform support that are applying for advanced development.


  • Applications from platforms seeking annual operating expenses for the 2020/21 financial year will be considered in the May funding round.
  • The Platforms funding stream is a closed fund for existing funded entities who deliver services to create and deliver audio/visual public media content of particular cultural or social value. These entities are described here. Applications for new platforms will not be considered.

Important dates:

14 Feb 2020, 4pm - Funding round opens.

19 Mar 2020, 4pm - Application deadline.

7 May 2019 - Applicants notified. This date may be extended at NZ On Air’s sole discretion.

Please note: All applications must be made through NZ On Air’s online application system. Applications not submitted through this system will not be accepted.

Two sad losses

We were very saddened to hear of the passing yesterday of Emma Jolliff.

Emma was co-host of Newshub Nation, where she did a great job of asking the questions that matter. She was a well-liked journalist and presenter on Three.

Our hearts go out to her friends, colleagues and family. We also note with sadness the passing of well-known author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan.

Gordon was an author of more than 20 books, and was revered for his quick wit and astute observations on what it was like to be a New Zealander.

We extend our condolences to Gordon's whānau and friends.

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