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Kiwis set to get more Māori, Pacific and children’s programmes as part of RNZ and NZ On Air's $15m funding boost

A new $6 million fund is being created to increase media content for Māori and Pacific people, children and regional New Zealand. 

Clare Curran.

Source: MBIE

The Innovation Fund was announced today by Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran, as part of the $15 million allocation to public media in Budget 2018, and it will see RNZ and NZ On Air jointly commission content to go to on RNZ platforms. 

The additional funding will be split between RNZ, which is set to receive an extra $4.5 million and NZ On Air, that is set to be given $4 million. 

Ms Curran said RNZ's $4.5 million allocation was to extend the organisation's audience and to take it "several steps closer toward the fully digital multi-platform public media organisation - RNZ+". 

National Party broadcasting spokesperson Melissa Lee called the announcement a "drop in the bucket" after Labour's 2017 election promise of $38m shared between RNZ and NZ On Air. 

"RNZ already has a strong digital presence and this announcement adds nothing new to their portfolio," Ms Lee said. "RNZ's leadership already indicated it was cool to the idea of taking on a completely different model."

Ms Lee said at a cost of $1.5m for the Public Media Advisory Group "it begs the question of why an advisory panel was needed for this at all". 

"The advisory group was originally set up to establish whether a public media funding commission was required, not to divvy up the Minister’s Budget allocations."

RNZ+ is a Labour Party policy proposal to bring a television service to RNZ. The extra $500,000 will go to researching cross-media collaboration and to access levels of funding.

"The new Innovation Fund will see RNZ commissioning content in a joint venture with NZ On Air. The multi-media content developed with this funding will air on RNZ platforms and be commissioned from the independent production sector using NZ On Air's existing funding processes," Ms Curran said.