Public television for $1 a day

April 3, 2009
The Babbage Difference Engine - similar to the one at my place

The Babbage Difference Engine - similar to the one at my place

Earlier this week my Unitec colleague Peter Thompson had a very thoughtful response to National’s canning of the TVNZ Charter published on Scoop.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I can recommend it as a good read. Peter makes a very interesting point, New Zealand can afford a decent public service television broadcaster and it would cost around $1 a day per household. I have run his maths through the old EM Difference Engine and, By Jove, I think he’s right.

This good news deserves to get a lot more coverage than it has. It should have been the headline statement in Peter’s piece. So I’m bringing it too you again.

This is a debate we need to have, but the National governmet is so keen on its ludicrous 100 day plan to make Ms Laura Norder the sultry star of its first (and last) term of office that there’s no time for intellectual quibbles or a proper public discussion.

My AUT University colleague, Alan Cocker, also makes some good points in a piece published a couple of days ago in the NZ Herald.

I also want to draw your attention to some correspondence I got a few days ago from Radio New Zealand’s Comms Manger (a threatened species these days) about how we often leave public service radio off our radar in these debates.

As John pointed out to me, progammes like Morning Report and Checkpoint do a good job of irritating everyone and for many Kiwis they are a daily fix. More anon…

But first to our headline: Would you be wiling to pay $1 a day for a quality public broadcasting television service?

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