Friday, May 21, 2010

New Zealand Budget 2010: RNZI (Radio New Zealand International) Funding Frozen

Media Release
Radio Heritage Foundation

New Zealand Budget 2010
Radio New Zealand International Funding Frozen

Radio New Zealand International [RNZI], the country's shortwave
broadcaster receives no additional funding in the latest government
budget for 2010/2011 announced in Wellington yesterday.

Funding remains at NZ$1.9m [US$1.26m] and it's required to deliver 16
hours of good quality reception daily to a minimum of 11 Pacific
nations with one 100kW analog transmitter installed in 1990 and one
100kW digital capable transmitter installed in 2005.

The primary coverage nations it's funded for are French Polynesia,
Cook Islands, Tokelau, American Samoa, Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Wallis and
Futuna, Fiji, Tuvalu, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The secondary coverage nations are Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea,
Nauru and Kiribati, whilst general coverage must be provided to the
Asia/Pacific and Pacific Rim region including the Federated States of
Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.

In addition, RNZI must increase the number of Pacific radio stations
relaying or rebroadcasting its news bulletins to 18 and is permiited
a maximum 1% of transmission time lost from equipment failure.

The Radio Heritage Foundation welcomes the continued funding of RNZI
as recognition by the government that it provides a valuable service
for New Zealand's interests in the Pacific.

'At a time when many shortwave broadcasters face budget cuts and
complete closedown of services, this continued confidence in RNZI's
ability to deliver a quality service with a bare-bones budget is
tribute to the extreme dedication to duty and pragmatism of the
entire RNZI team" says chairman David Ricquish.

RNZI provides valuable cyclone, extreme weather watch and tsunami
warnings for the entire South Pacific region. It also provides local
FM quality news, information and other programs for rebroadcast on a
growing number of local Pacific island radio stations.

"With Fiji in media censorship lockdown and media freedoms poorly
understood in many of the target nations, RNZI provides local
listeners with a respected and valuable news source from a Pacific
perspective" adds Ricquish.

"Every week, thousands of New Zealanders are on holiday, on business
visits or working and living in the Pacific and RNZI provides a
valuable service for their continued safety."

"To maintain this security, RNZI should also be urgently capital
funded for a replacement of the 20 year old analog transmitter with
another high power digital capable shortwave transmitter sooner
rather than later" says Ricquish.

Catastrophic RNZI transmitter failure co-inciding with natural
disasters or sudden political events and instability in the region
could threaten the lives of New Zealanders and New Zealand's security
and commercial interests.

Radio Heritage Foundation is a registered non-profit organization
connecting popular culture, nostalgia and radio heritage across the
Pacific. It's global website offers free
community access to Pacific Radio Guides and other valuable
resources. Annual supporter packages start at US$10 and online
advertising rates are now available.

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