Our print media are currently up in arms over the proposed member of Radio NZ and Television NZ at a ludicrous cost of a third of a billion dollars. They claim it will produce a dominant news powerhouse and destroy competition.
Feasibly that’s possible albeit I’m a news hog yet never listen to the radio and being unable to speak maori, don’t watch our television news. But then I’m not necessarily representative of the wider public.
I was actually on the Broadcasting Commission of Enquiry three decades ago, which resulted in Radio and TV being split into two entities and I protested at the proposition which for the life of me seemed pointless, doing something for the sake of it. But my fellow commissioners ran with the British consultants who’s principal argument seemed to be that every other country was doing this.
The big problem for the print media’s future is not with this unnecessary mergers’ allegedly overbearing competition but instead, that reading is now unfashionable. The cell-phone is now the total supplier of information for the entire 8 billion people on earth, only new-borns (and me) being the exception. Stupidity now rules the roost.
That said, in campaigning against this idiotic and pointless costly re-merger, our newspapers should note the decision of the Commerce Commission declining their efforts a few years back to amalgamate, on the grounds it was anti-competitive. It wasn’t in fact as they covered different (geographic) markets, nevertheless they were fighting for survival and as a single entity would have produced a superior product.
The current government have a disgracefully shameful record of wasting taxpayers money on absurdities. This proposal ranks as one of the worst and is apparently the brainchild of Willie Jackson, an amiable former small audience talkback host, now Broadcasting Minister. But Willie apparently possesses a maori ancestor and this must not be crossed.
I like Labour governments. They’ve shaped New Zealand bringing about usually overdue reforms. But one thing is absolutely irrevocably certain and that is never, never allow them a third term. After two they become indulgently cock-a-hoop, treating the public purse as a cornucopian bottomless pit of gold. I say that vis a vis their usual announced future intentions as Helen Clark’s government excepted, in the post-war era the public were wise enough to dump them after one term (twice) and two terms, also twice. Helen alone survived two terms by behaving like a standard dullard National government, not rocking the boat and simply minding the shop.
The Ardern government got there initially by a fluke (Winston) and gained a second term by creating a Covid panic then hogging the news-media with daily pronouncements. It was a shameful period in our history although I concede Jacinda achieved something no-one else could have, at least according to numerous writers to The Herald, namely telling White Island to behave itself and stop showing off. That will go down as her major accomplishment.