Wednesday 19 September 2018

A response to a letter of complaint about Radio NZ

Weasel words from the New Zealand Government on RNZ coverage of climate change

About a month ago a small group of us put in a complaint about Radio New Zealand's lack of cover on climate change.

At least one person was quite satisfied by the weasel words that came back rejecting our complaint on a technical ground so we wrote to the ministers of broadcasting (who has since been sacked) and Minister for Climate Change (sic).

The response came back today.

Nothing I could say could prepare me for the shock and total lack of surprise.
It's not as if we had a dire climate emergency is it?  Minister, Chris Faafoi writes back with such as sense of urgency as if I was writing to him about my missing cat.

If you didn't know what we are up against in a government that pays nothing more than lip service to climate change (while denying the reality of abrupt climate change) here you are.

See for yourself.

Hon Kris Faafoi,
MP for Mana, Minister of Civil Defence Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Associate Minister of Immigration

19 SEP 2018

Dear Robin et al

Your email of 23 August to my colleague Hon Clare Curran, regarding RNZ's response to your letter of 1 August about the reporting of climate change, has been referred to me for reply as this relates to my portfolio responsibilities as Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.

I appreciate you and your associates taking the time to write and share your concerns. Although I note your disappointment with RNZ's response of 22 August, this is not a matter with which I can assist you. As Minister I am unable to intervene in the programming or editorial decisions of individual broadcasters, including RNZ. These are made, appropriately, at arm's length from government.

By writing to RNZ directly with the details of your complaint and concerns you have taken the most appropriate course of action. I encourage you to continue to provide feedback, and note that there are often opportunities to do this quickly via text message during its news and current affairs programmes.

High-quality public broadcasting is crucial to our national identity and I agree it is important a broad range of subjects are presented – including substantive issues as well as 'lighter' topics. A well-resourced public media plays a valuable role in ensuring we can see and hear ourselves and our stories reflected in our audio-visual content across media platforms, and that the issues of the day are covered in depth. Government's commitment as part of Budget 2018 of $15 million for 2018/19 to increase funding for public media reflects the value we place on an independent public media service.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

Yours sincerely,

Hon Kris Faafoi
Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

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