Coalition for Better Broadcasting, Auckland, 1 September 2014: Over 250 people turned out for the Auckland Broadcasting and Media Debate in Auckland City last night to hear politicians give their solutions to NZ’s media and broadcasting woes.
Speakers were Labour’s Kris Faafoi, Colin Craig, Julie Anne Genter for the Greens, future National Broadcasting Minister Maggie Barry, Laila Harre and Tracey Martin of NZ First.
Labour broadcasting spokesperson, Kris Faafoi outlined Labour’s just released broadcasting policy which includes establishing a non-commercial television channel within Radio NZ. He admitted the funding of this channel was a casualty of Labour’s post-PREFU spending cutbacks. “The CBB are disappointed that funding for decent television news is still unresolved,” says CBB Chief Executive, Myles Thomas. “Especially as the urgent need for independent, non-commercial journalism has been made so apparent by recent developments. But there are some excellent funding options which need not cost taxpayers anything, and if Labour become government, the CBB looks forward to discussing these options as part of a sustainable, long-term package.”
Labour’s new policy was met with rousing support from the audience, and the other speakers on stage except one – National’s Maggie Barry who came out on the attack. Channelling recently departed Judith Collins, Ms Barry launched an unprovoked attack on Bomber Bradbury, in the audience, and Laila Harre behind her on stage. Incensed, Ms Harre stepped forward, eyeballing Ms Barry and for a moment it seemed the two might come to blows.
Apart from the fireworks, many of the speeches were an intelligent, reasoned and knowledgeable analysis of why NZ audiences are so poorly served. The one glaring exception to this was Colin Craig who displayed surprising lack of knowledge of the subject. His worst moment came when he explained that NZ will never create a local version of Dora the Explorer because “it is just so good”.
The winner of the debate was the moderator and comedian Guy Williams, who aside from shocking the audience with the F Bomb and joking about running adverts for strip clubs during children’s programmes, also managed to get Tracey Martin to admit she had to teach Winston Peters how to write text messages.