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NZ$15m content fund up for grabs after TVNZ Charter scrapped

The charter that governs the operation of Kiwi public broadcaster TVNZ will be scrapped this year and the NZ$15 million (US$8.5 million) it is gifted for local programming will be opened up to all broadcasters and producers.

The NZ$15 million, which is designed to promote locally-originated content that would not otherwise be made, will be allocated by public funding body New Zealand On Air.

“The charter hasn’t worked,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key told local press. “There’s been a number of inquiries into it, there’s been no discernable difference in the amount of local content that’s been played because of the charter.”

He told the breakfast show on TVNZ’s TV One channel: “All the indications are that the charter hasn’t actually changed what’s on the screen.”

Key denied claims from the opposition that scrapping the charter is a precursor to selling TVNZ.

Last week, the broadcaster announced a wide-ranging program of job losses and other cost cuts. It is attempting to save NZ$25 million this year.