I’m butthurt about New Zealand on Air

This is the second time I’ve used the word “butthurt” today. OK, that time was the third. Today, and ever.

I think it’s a terrible word, but I seem to be committed to it now.now.

What I’m butthurt (4) about is this strange, circular story that’s come out about NZ on Air today. Here is my reading of the elements:

  • TV3 airs a social issues documentary (about childhood poverty, containing as far as I know no party political bias) close to the election
  • No members of the public complain
  • No political parties complain (unless you see the below as backroom finagling… but surely not!)
  • No members of the electoral commission complain
  • Subsequently, the Prime Minister’s electorate secretary, Stephen McElrea uses his position on the board of NZ on Air to prompt the board to:
      • Write a formal letter to the Broadcasting Minister saying that, quote “we feel that we have been dropped in it”
      • Make strong represenations of concern to TV3 to said dropping sensation
      • Seek legal counsel as to whether it would not be better to amend the broadcast covenant so that programmes about political issues not be screened during the election

So… couldn’t that last part conceivably include the news? I mean… isn’t that full of political hot topics, particularly around election season?

Oh wait, I forgot this is New Zealand. Our election coverage is easily sidetracked by nonsense about who had lunch with who. Sweet Valley High anyone?

What, apart from being “dropped in it”, is NZ on Air’s concern again? Ah that’s right, they feel the broadcast “calls into question our political impartiality”.

They’ve certainly put that particular question to rest.

I’m completely b…



About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

2 Responses to I’m butthurt about New Zealand on Air

  1. Gareth says:

    The National Party was embarrassed by the documentary since a lot of the things causing of child poverty are things they either directly caused or ignored and didn’t fix. The National Party feels that this documentary had, or at least could have had, an adverse effect on their election campaign and wishes to ensure that such embarrassment does not happen again. To this end they wish to have no issues that are politically sensitive aired during an election campaign. Ensuring that such programs do not receive funding is one way of achieving this. Personally I think that NZ On Air should stick to deciding whether a program is deserving of funding and butt out of the scheduling and political manipulation. They say they want to remain politically neutral, but trying to cover the government’s butt conveys the opposite impression.

    • seanmurgatroyd says:

      Well exactly! As I say, to have no politically sensitive issues covered during an election just makes no sense. We already have rules that say no political discussion on election day, and that’s been enough in the past.

      TV3 isn’t even a government channel.

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