NZ on Air criticism sounds familiar

With all the furore over the NZ on Air issue and the silly claims about censorship it twigged a few memories.

I seem to remember how “Locked Down” wasn’t screened in 2008 because it wasn’t flattering to the government in an election year?

TVNZ is facing claims it dropped a prison reality TV show amid fears it would show viewers how “cushy” prison life was in an election year.

The state broadcaster commissioned Locked Down, a 13-part series on life at Wellington’s Rimutaka Prison. It was to have started screening in April, the Dominion Post reports today.

The 30-minute programme, made by Screentime production company, features interviews with inmates about prison life, the crimes they committed and their rehabilitation.

The shows also outline prison conditions, including inmates having televisions and stereos in their cells.

But TVNZ has delayed the series’ debut several times and there are now claims it is due to concerns it shows how “cushy” prison life is in the run-up to the general election.

Locked Down director Sean Duffy said he could not understand why the series had not screened.

“The bottom line is if they’re not putting something to air because of an election … I don’t think that’s right.

“Has the Government suggested that they wouldn’t want it to go to air — or is it TVNZ taking it upon themselves to act in an incredibly paranoid matter about it? I don’t know.”

And Labour never told broadcasters what to fund with Government money intended for programming did they? Trevor Mallard was front and centre on that political control over funding.

Television New Zealand is to be stripped of the power to decide how it spends more than $15 million in charter funds after angering its government bosses by using the money to subsidise its Olympics coverage.

It will instead have to apply to funding agency NZ On Air programme by programme, with no guarantee it will get the full amount in any one year.

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the company had planned to use charter money to contribute towards the “absolutely enormous” production costs of broadcasting the Beijing Olympics.

Direct Government funding had not been used in the bid for the actual rights to screen the Olympics, which was negotiated as part of a three event deal spanning the 2000, 2004 and this year’s competitions. Bidding for the rights was conducted “many years ago,” Ms Richards said.

TVNZ was “comfortable” with the Government’s proposal requiring NZ On Air to approve funding on a per programme basis. Such a move would add “clarity” to the funding process and the state broadcaster was already discussing the proposal internally, Ms Richards said.

Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard told The Dominion Post yesterday that he was preparing a Cabinet paper to make the change, because he believed it was inappropriate use of charter funds – provided through the Culture and Heritage Ministry genre by genre – to subsidise the successful bid for the Olympics.

The move followed “dissatisfaction with TVNZ and a question about whether it’s good value for money or a common understanding of the purpose of the charter”.

Right can we have Labour STFU with the whinging now please. Labour and their lap-bloggers have been all indignant about some National flunkies laying complaints and following process. Their party simply changed laws or worse actually had a show put on ice, kind of make a complaint to the Electoral Commission pale into insignificance.

Pot. Kettle. Black.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • beenthere

    There was also a documentary on the armed forces that was reputably suppressed for quite some time, after the combat wing of the airforce was disbanded a few years back.

  • Hakim of Phut

    Was to have screened in April, the election was in Nov.  Has not been heard from since which means it was ‘unwatchable’ from an advertisers point of view. 

    Would you want to run  your Harvey Norman ads  while the cons talk about   how to case houses  for  ‘the goods’
    Perhaps thats the reason it  wasnt shown  then , or since

  • Hakim of Phut

    Correction it was the 2005 election which was September
    But this part is interesting

    National MP Tony Ryall said it was obvious that TVNZ had decided to protect the Government.”You’ve got the state broadcaster shielding its political master by not exposing viewers to a taxpayer-funded programme that shows what is going on in prisons, with inmates not doing any work, watching television and not getting any rehabilitation.”So Ryall  was opposed to’ TVNZ doing the bidding of its master’.But that was then, NOW they want the Government to be ‘protected’

    • Name a National minister that has ordered NZ on ir to do anything…you can’t because they ahven’t. You have a board member who has made a suggestion that is all. Labour actually DID interfere with NZ on Air.

      • Hakim of Phut

          Can you read, the decision was made by TVNZ.  
        Plus Nationals guy on NZOA is a top party official,  thats how he got the job to look after the party.Plus which Labour party guy said anything back in 2005 ?

      • Bullshit…he is not a “top” party official…he is an electorate chair…the lowest official you can get…int he same standing as Michael Wood in Mt Roskill…you’d hardly call him a top official

  • Engineer

    I bet alram and other security companies would have paid buig bucks to advertise during a progra on criminals.  And the ACT party, and the sensible sentancing trust and…..

  • So the prime minister’s campaign chairman, as reported elsewhere, is the lowest ? And here’s me thinking Key was sooo influential. 

    Meantime, Whaleoil comparing millions spent on an Olympics media bid, with millions not spent on poverty stricken children seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. I wonder why Whaleoil doesn’t question the whole for-profit nonsense that marks the relationship between political parties and state broadcasters? Oh, that’s right, this is not the “liberal” media. 

    By the way, I’m not a lap-blogger, for the Labour party or anyone other movement. I don’t have whales on my blog either, especially not one that looks like it swallowed a whole Rena load of steroids … the logo reminds me of doodling super heroes, in between reading Commando comics … when I was a petulant, spoilt, war-obsessed adolescent. 

  • Thomas.

    Wow Jason, are you really a journo (as per your twitter).  If so I’m amazed you have the intellect to
    work for the women’s weekly.