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Strong Public Media

Public media contribute to the health and vibrancy of democratic societies by providing trusted news and a diverse range of entertainment and information that reflects languages, experiences, and communities.

Public and private media in New Zealand, like other media organisations around the world, are responding to rapidly changing audience habits, driven by advances in technology and the impact of on-line content providers and platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Digital transformation has given people more choices about when and how they access content and has reduced the commercial revenue that is available to both public and private media entities in New Zealand.

The pressures facing the media industry are reducing public media’s ability to inform, educate and entertain New Zealanders with a range of trusted and culturally relevant content.

The rapidly changing demographic of New Zealand is also making it challenging for mainstream media to communicate and engage effectively with more diverse communities.

As a result, many key audiences do not feel well-represented or well served by public media.

The Strong Public Media work is focused on ensuring public media is fit for the future and able to thrive amid the changing media landscape.

The business case

In January 2020, Cabinet agreed to commission a detailed business case to examine the viability of creating a new, fit-for-purpose public media entity.

Due to COVID-19, work on the business case was paused whilst Manatū Taonga provided much needed support to the media sector. Work on Strong Public Media resumed at the start of 2021.

On 31 March 2021, Minister for Broadcasting and Media Kris Faafoi appointed a Governance Group, reporting to him directly, to lead work to complete the business case.

Their primary role was to provide the strategic oversight and leadership required to:

  • complete the detailed business case to test the viability of establishing a new public media entity; and to
  • undertake a targeted engagement process to inform the development of a draft charter that would define the role and purpose of a new entity and principles to guide its operation.

Deloitte has done the detailed work required to complete the business case with assistance and input from Manatū Taonga.

The business case has looked at how public media can meet the changing expectations of audiences and support a strong, vibrant media sector. It has considered options for how a potential new public media entity could operate - including how it would complement Māori media and private media.

The business case is made up of the following phases: 

  1. Strategic case
    The strategic case considers what needs to change and why, and what the change needs to achieve.
  2. Economic case
    The economic case identifies options to achieve the change, identifies the costs and benefits of the options and selects a preferred option.
  3. Commercial and financial cases
    The commercial and financial cases will identify the procurement and funding requirements to implement the preferred option.
  4. Management case
    The management case will develop the plan to implement the preferred option including, time, costs, risks and how to move from the status quo to a fully implemented new public media entity.

Engagement on a charter

The Governance also oversaw targeted engagement with stakeholders to help inform a charter for the proposed new entity.

The Charter will define the purpose, objectives, and functions of a new public media entity as well as its operating principles. It would be part of new legislation required to establish a new entity.

The targeted engagement was with key groups most affected by the purpose and function of a proposed new public media entity. They are:

  • Media organisations
  • Māori media and Māori representative entities
  • Key audiences for a new public entity including those who are currently ‘under-served’ or ‘under-engaged’.

Next steps

Cabinet is expected to make a decision on a potential new public media entity before the end of 2021.

If the Government decides to go ahead with establishing a new entity, there will be an opportunity for the public to give their views on a charter and the proposed legislation for a new entity through the Select Committee process.

See timeline for the case for Strong Public Media (pdf)

Quick links

Minister’s press release

FAQs about public media changes

Cabinet Papers

Cabinet Paper: 28 January 2020: Strengthening Public Media: Report Back

Cabinet Paper: 31 March 2021: Strong Public Media business case Governance Group  - see also Terms of Reference

Cabinet Minute: 31 March 2021: Strong Public Media business case Governance Group: Establishment of Governance Group

Updated on 9th September 2021