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Budget offers little to industry

Māori Television was the only direct industry beneficiary of funding announced in yesterday’s budget.

The new money for Māori Television is $10.6 million, over four years, earmarked primarily for upgrading transmission to HD, with remaining funds going to the creation of online content. The money is part of a $34.6 million package of funding designed to support Māori language initiatives.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell sais in a statement, “The gains made through Budget 2016 demonstrate the wider commitment that the Government is making towards the revitalisation of te reo Māori.”

Māori Television was criticised in a survey carried out last year by Nga Aho Whakaari. Respondents to the survey alleged the broadcaster was one of a number of Māori media organisations expecting production personnel to work for less than they’d get for equivalent work from other broadcasters.

The freeze continues on funding for many state agencies, including the NZFC and NZ On Air, neither of which have seen an increase since National became the government back when films were film and free-to-air broadcasting was an analogue affair.

The budget did announce an increase in arts funding which, like the Maori language support, was targeted to specific organisations. The bulk of the increase is split between the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

More broadly, the budget contained few surprises. Some of the announcements of increased funding are actually reductions in spending once they’re adjusted for cost of living increases and population growth.