Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman reported that the dual mandate which Television New Zealand (TVNZ) used to operate under had been removed following the third reading of the Television New Zealand Amendment Bill. This had some interesting implications for screenings of material from the NZBC/TVNZ archives
The Bill replaces the current TVNZ charter with a less prescriptive list of functions and leaves the state broadcaster free to concentrate on being a successful television company without the constraints of an unrealistic dual mandate, Dr Coleman said.
According to the minister The removal of the Charter will have little impact on what is shown on the screen. TVNZ will still screen content of relevance to a broad cross section of New Zealanders, and they will still screen high levels of New Zealand content.
At the same time, TVNZ will have the flexibility it needs to effectively pursue commercial objectives, and to continue its transition from a traditional broadcaster to a multi-platform digital media company with diverse income streams and services.
Sounded a bit disingenuous of the Minister to say the change will have little impact; if that were true there would have been no point abolishing the charter.
The other core purpose of the TVNZ Amendment Bill, and the one of most interest to those like myself interested in New Zealand's old TV shows, was that it prescribed a process for compensatory payments to individuals with an interest in the works when TVNZ's archived pre-1989 television programmes re-screened. As such it legislated away the contracts that the individuals with an interest in the shows (i.e. actors and writers) had in place and imposed a set formula. My guess at the time was that this avoided the need for negotiation and might have seen more work screened, but no doubt the actors etc would lose out financially. I waited in edger anticipation for an an avalanche of archive TV screenings on free to air channels and DVD, but instead we the New Zealand public had to pay to be able to see the work that previous taxpayers funded when a limited range of material appeared on the TVNZ Heartland Sky channel.