Friday 31 May 2024

Good news.

NZ On Air is delighted by yesterday's Budget ’24 announcement that our baseline funding for the 24/25 year has been left unchanged, in recognition of the tough times facing the sectors we fund and the resulting threat to local content.

Along with the rest of the public sector, NZ On Air had looked for costs to cut in order to deliver the savings the Government seeks. In an agency spending less than four percent of our total budget on administration, this was clearly going to impact funding going into the sector.

What this means is that we will now swiftly prepare a new budget for inclusion in our Statement of Performance Expectations 24/25. We will seek to be strategic about allocation of funds to the areas of most pressing need and continue to take a prudent approach to our cost base. We have, for example, identified some modest savings in our admin budget and will divert this funding into content.

To be clear, when we talk about ‘need’ we mean cultural rather than financial, although we acknowledge our funds underpin many jobs. We need to ensure local audiences can still find, watch and listen to great local stories and songs. Current pressures are reducing the amount of quality local content available and audience ability to discover it, and so our funds need to stretch further than ever.

But we are optimistic in the face of these challenges. With our flexible investment strategy, continued collaboration with Te Māngai Pāho and the NZ Film Commission, and strong relationships with all local platforms, the music, screen production and game development sectors, we are in a strong position to respond.

Our plans for the next year (Statement of Performance Expectations 24/25) and high-level plans for the next four years (Statement of Intent 2024-28) will soon be available.

Two key staff changes at NZ On Air
We have recently reviewed our Corporate Services function, which intersects with all sectors and across all our mahi. Our review was driven out of a need to drive cultural transformation of our agency, build and enhance sector relationships, provide excellent services to internal and external stakeholders, and demonstrate our value, effectiveness and efficiency to the Government.

The outcome of this review has been the establishment of a new role – Head of Operations, Partnerships and Culture – the disestablishment of the Head of Corporate Services role, and the reassignment of a number roles within what was Corporate Services, into the new Operations, Partnerships and Culture (OPC) team.

I am delighted to announce that Raewyn Rasch (Kai Tahu/Ngāi Tahu) has accepted the role of Head of Operations, Partnerships and Culture. Raewyn ably led our Public Interest Journalism Fund delivery, and since the end of that fund last June has been helping create a new Rautaki Māori, Equity and Representation strategy, and our Te Tiriti commitment. (All of these new strategies will be socialised soon, as they are reflected in our new SOI and SPE).

Under Raewyn’s leadership, the OPC team will deliver the finance, Human Resources, contracting and other office functions, while providing leadership on sector partnerships, collaboration and cultural change.

We will also temporarily bid farewell to Head of Funding Amie Mills who is heading off on parental leave (next week) with a new baby due imminently. In recognition of our highly capable and experienced existing team, we are delighted to announce that Kelly Davis and Glenn Usmar will both step up into Acting Heads of Funding. Kelly and Glenn should both be very familiar to you as Kelly has been running screen funding rounds for the past year and a half, and Glenn has been managing our funding systems (and has been with us for a while!) so the team is in great hands until we welcome Amie back.