Vital public media platforms have been thrown a timely lifeline by today’s Budget 2020 announcement of a funding boost.

NZ On Air is delighted to learn it will receive $6.25m more each year over the next four years to increase the operational funding it provides to the likes of community access radio, Pacific radio, student radio, disability media (captioning and audio description services) and others.

“These services provide important connection for important New Zealand audiences that are not well-served by the mainstream. We have been very aware for some time that these services need more support, and that has only become even more acute in recent weeks,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland.

In recent weeks many of these services have been vital for many communities.

“Captioning on news updates allows the hearing impaired to stay up-to-date with Covid-19 developments, and Covid alert information in a range of languages is being broadcast on Pacific radio stations and access radio stations, showing the true value of these and the other funded platforms and services,” Mr Harland continued.

The NZ On Air Board will decide in coming weeks how the funding increase will be distributed to achieve the best outcomes.

NZ On Air provides annual operational funding for:

Able, providing captioning and audio description on screen content to make it accessible to the hearing and sight impaired. Captions are also valuable for people with English as their second language.

Community Access Media, 12 community access radio stations around NZ providing programming in more than 50 languages, by, for and about their communities, as well as content on demand.

HEIHEI, the safe, online ad-free home for local children’s content, run in conjunction with TVNZ.

NZ On Screen & AudioCulture, local content discovery sites. NZ On Screen heroes the people and stories behind our great local screen content, while AudioCulture celebrates NZ music and its characters.

Pacific Radio, the National Pacific Radio Trust, which runs Pacific language stations 531 pi, Niu FM, and PMN News and separately, Samoa Capital Radio.

Student Radio, five student radio stations championing local music.

*NZ On Air also funds Radio NZ which has a separate ring-fenced allocation, to which this new funding does not apply.

**The funding is not part of the Covid-related Media support package already announced.