Rural Delivery reprieve

January 26, 2018

Last year Rural Delivery failed to get NZ On Air funding which threatened its ability to continue.

An email from NZ On Air told me:

Rural Delivery was successful in a resubmitted bid for funding at the end of last year. My understanding is the programme will return to screens in 2018. They are securing third party funding in order to receive just under $300,000 funding from NZ On Air.

This is very good news.

Rural Delivery provides a much needed window on the interesting and innovative work being done in rural New Zealand.


Rural round-up

November 13, 2017

Fresh Food – Out of Reach:

Amy Wiggins writes in the front page of the NZ Herald on Friday November 10th 2017, that as the prices for fresh fruit and vegetables rise they are becoming out of reach for low income families. The article goes on to say that many New Zealanders are struggling to afford to buy enough fresh produce to feed their families a healthy diet.

I agree with both of these statements and in fact when you take into account the land use restrictions on the horticultural industry, contained within the Healthy Rivers Proposed Plan Change 1 (PC1); this is going to create extremely serious food security problems into the future.

A huge percentage of the country’s population rely on the Waikato Region’s fruit and vegetable producers for security of their food supply and with the restrictions on horticultural land use that occur as a result of PC1, they are going to lose the security of supply that they currently have. . . 

TPP back on with new name, Canada apparently back on board – Pattrick Smellie:

Nov. 11 walked away from the deal, but returned to the negotiating table claiming “a misunderstanding”.

Briefing New Zealand media ahead of the APEC Leaders’ Retreat in Da Nang, Viet Nam, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said : “I wouldn’t want to speculate but I think probably we’re in a more stable place than we were yesterday.”

Asked whether Canada was back in the tent and TPP was back on she said: “I would characterise it in that way, yes.” . . 

Red Meat sector welcomes TPP deal and its significant boost to regional growth:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the announcement a deal has been struck to move ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ, says the CPTPP will deliver significant gains to the sector. . . 

The death of rural programmes – Craig Wiggins:

The announcement that NZ on Air funding has been cut for the Rural Delivery television programme has not come as a surprise to me, having witnessed the demise of support for the Young Farmer Contest from those in control of the programming and funding of what we get to watch on television.

The time slot allocations and in turn the lack of viewers engaged in the topics being covered don’t stack up against the mind-dumbing and increasingly popular reality television series we get these days.

It’s a sign of the times that people turn on their televisions to escape reality and be entertained, not really informed now.

I would suggest that if Country Calendar didn’t have as much of an entertainment and voyeuristic content as it does then it would be in for the chop as well. . . 

Sheep shearing in New Zealand -World’s toughest jobs:

If you think you’re tough enough to do sheep shearing in New Zealand, here’s what you need to know…

About the job

Summer (December to March) is usually peak season, but this can vary by location and type of sheep, and there tend to be some opportunities available throughout the year.

The work is physically hard and whilst sheep shearing is a skill that takes years to perfect, the more basic work is ‘crutching’ which is something you can learn in a week or so. Crutchers shave just the rear legs of the sheep to keep them clean through the summer. In general, crutchers get paid around $0.50 per sheep and after a couple of weeks should be churning out around 400 – 600 sheep per day, or $200 – $300 per day (£103-£154).  . .


No more Rural Delivery?

October 10, 2017

The future of Rural Delivery is under threat after missing out on NZ On Air funding:

Federated Farmers is disappointed to learn that TVNZ’s Rural Delivery programme has missed out on the latest round of NZ on Air funding.

The programme which profiles rural New Zealand and the primary sector, highlighting farmer ingenuity and innovation is now facing an uncertain future as it considers other funding options.

“One has to question the decision making at the NZ on Air. From what I know their programming is supposed to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture, ” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers National President.

“Rural Delivery surely meets that criteria and has done for the past 13 years-so what has changed?”

“This show has been attracting on average over 50,000 viewers per episode, which in the today’s competitive broadcasting environment is pretty reasonable for screening at 7am on weekends.”

The timing of decision is also unfortunate as the agriculture sector, especially farming is becoming increasingly concerned about its image among urban New Zealanders highlighted by the recent political campaigning.

“We’ve been saying this for some time now, the need for urban and rural New Zealand to reconnect. Our challenge, as farmers, is to tell our story and we rely on programming like Rural Delivery to help get that message across.”

Katie says the programme deserves a future and perhaps a different time slot from the current weekend time, would attract a bigger and more diverse audience.

“I’m not convinced that NZ on Air’s decision reflects the opinions of most kiwis. This type of programming is still popular with the mainstream and if it can’t be saved it will be a sad day for New Zealand broadcasting, as was the case with the The Dog Show,” says Katie.

Rural Delivery is available on demand  so the 7am Saturday time slot isn’t much of an issue.

The programme is sponsored by Rabobank and it might be able to find more sponsors but the failure to get NZ On Air funding threatens its ability to continue.

The loss of one of the few  programmes which informs and educates, treats its audience as intelligent and showcases positive rural people and developments is concerning.

New Zealand is unique in the developed world for the importance of agriculture to its economy.

When the majority of the population are urban based and have little connection to or knowledge of agriculture and wider rural issues,  the media plays a vital role in bridging the rural-urban divide.

There aren’t many quality planks in the bridge between town and country. It would be a great loss if this one was cut out.


Balance not censorship

January 18, 2012

New Zealand On Air is seeking legal advice on whether it should censor television programmes during election campaigns.

NZ On Air says it has been accused of political bias following TV3’s screening of Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report four days ahead of the general election on 26 November last year.

In documents released under the Official Information Act, NZ On Air says it was not happy with TV3’s decision to screen the documentary on 22 November.

It says it takes its political impartiality very seriously and now stands accused of political bias.

If censorship is the answer they’re asking the wrong question.

The mistake wasn’t NZOA’s in funding a programme  nor was it TV3’s in screening the programme. The mistake was the station’s failure to balance the screening of a politically biased documentary with a range of other views.

All media should be free to cover any and all political issues in the run-up to an election but when public money is involved it should not be used to push a particular barrow unquestioned.

The documentary in question gave the poverty industry’s side of a contentious issue and TV3 made no attempt to balance that with contrary views.

The answer to the accusations made of NZOA isn’t censorship, it’s fairness and balance.


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