A giant block of ice containing signatures of 32,337 New Zealanders slowly melted on Parliament lawn today in an effort to unfreeze funding for RNZ.
The action was organised by ActionStation and the Coalition for Better Broadcasting, along with Jo Bond, who have been campaigning to increase funding for the essential public broadcaster since its funding has been frozen since 2008.
“RNZ plays a crucial role in enhancing our democracy and informing New Zealanders through quality independent journalism. The tens of thousands of everyday people who have taken action is a testament to the importance of Radio New Zealand. It’s time the Government unfroze the funding,” said ActionStation Campaigns Director Laura O’Connell Rapira.
The petition was presented as the sale of RNZ’s Auckland building is in the process of being sold to pay for operational costs. “RNZ is cannibalising itself to stay afloat,” said Coalition for Better Broadcasting Chair, Peter Thompson.
Campaigner Jo Bond said, “RNZ deserves a funding increase in this year’s Budget because it needs to be properly resourced, not just this year, but in future years so that it can continue to deliver on its charter and provide the same standard of content that has given RNZ its fine reputation.”
Labour MP, Clare Curran, accepted the petition along with Green MP, Julie Anne Genter, after Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage, Maggie Barry declined to attend with no reason given.
“We are absolutely committed to non-commercial, independent, investigative journalism and media – now is the time to do something,” said Labour Spokesperson for Broadcasting, Clare Curran.
Ms. Curran will table the 32,337 strong petition in Parliament.
The petition, and giant piece of ice that it was presented in, was crowdfunded by members of the people-powered campaign community ActionStation.