If Queen Elisabeth were still alive, she’d be telling us what an annus of a time it’s been so far for Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our thoughts at DEGANZ go out to those of our members and all others impacted by the weather events we have experienced in recent times. For many, it’s been devastating. There have, though, been some rays of sunshine for the screen sector in what’s been a truly miserable summer to date.
While the Guild supported the idea of bringing RNZ and TVNZ together in a merged entity, we expressed our serious concerns about the manner in which it was being done, with little real detail provided as to what exactly was going to happen and what it meant for us all in the screen industry. It was with some relief, therefore, on my part at least, that Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media was canned. However, while the Prime Minster did say that:
- RNZ will receive additional funding to strengthen its public media role,
- New Zealand on Air will also receive more funding to support public media content,
- funding will be available to a wider range of broadcasters, and that
- remaining funding will be redirected to other Government priorities,
it’s still decidedly unclear as to what ‘public media content’ actually is. Is it News and Current Affairs? Documentary? Scripted Comedy? Drama? Reality? Other? Our screen industry is still operating in a vacuum at this point.
NZ On Air’s recently released commentary in its Shorts Newsletter doesn’t engender much positivity either: “We remain very energised by the strategic shift we had articulated in the Transitional strategy and feel this is still a valid direction, albeit with more funding than was going to be available.” For those of you who haven’t read their Transitional Strategy, you can find it here.
On a more positive note, we now have the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) in place, although you wouldn’t think so based on the contracts I’ve seen so far this year from producers—elements required by law have been missing. You can learn what needs to be in contracts now and a great deal more in the comprehensive resource on our website about SIWA—thanks to the Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand, who provided us with much of the information. You can access it here. You will be hearing from us frequently from here on in about SIWA as we move forward with education, training and preparations for collective bargaining.
And then, of course, there was Te Matatini. What a fabulous event it was, although TVNZ’s coverage could have been better. That teams from cyclone-hit regions were there to compete was a testament to the desire of many to lift the spirits of Māoridom and the whole country after such a trying time. The call for greater financial support from the Government for this exceedingly popular showcase of artistic talent is fully justified.