Speaker by Various Artists

96

Levelling the Playing Field

by Jonathan King

"If we match other countries’ subsidies we’ll save the film industry we’ve built over decades, keep 10,000+ people employed and allow us to continue tell our own stories on film."

That’s been the rallying for several months now and, as the someone who’s written / co-written or directed four local feature films, I’ve been thinking about the issue – and this proposed solution – a lot. The other day I tweeted about some factors that aren’t mentioned amidst the call for subsidy increases as a cure-all to film biz unemployment and dearth of local production; Russell asked me to expand on those thoughts in a post.

First of all, let me clear: I would love to see an appropriately-sized film industry that fairly and regularly employs its members – working on international productions, if they want to, and NZ ones if that’s their bag; it’s been mine.

A huge number of people are dependent on our industry returning to something like the size it did during the period that ran from Hercules in the 1990s to Spartacus / The Hobbit in the last couple of years. But I would urge caution in seeing increased subsidies as the sole answer to the problems our industry faces. There are, it seems to me, some other significant factors that mean things may never return to how they were, even if subsidies are increased. To that end, I think it’s urgent we have a wider conversation about what our industry is, what it wants to make, and how it’s sustained.

1. Moving image content has become drastically devalued.

There is 100 hours of new footage upload to YouTube every minute. They’re given that material for free. Viewers get to watch that for free. My TV will play me, I dunno, 65 or so channels of stuff for (effectively) free. As moving image content get cheaper to consume (i.e. for free online, on TV, cheap Warehouse DVDs and, yes, via piracy), there’s an expectation from distributors and broadcasters that they can acquire content more cheaply; the amount that anyone will pay to make this content must go down.

2. When once-specialised jobs (like DOP, editor, writer, visual effects -- and director!) can be done by kids at home, the amount that anyone will pay for those jobs crashes.

Operating a 35mm camera or a Steenbeck editing deck was technically difficult and used a hugely expensive raw material: film. There were long apprenticeships and rare, hard-earned opportunities to get hands-on experience. Now that anyone can shoot digital footage and practice filmmaking for, essentially, free, the craft becomes within the reach of anyone, and proficiency in the art follows (not overnight, for sure, but faster and wider than ever before). Add up the existing pros, scores of young people flooding out of film schools every year and talented kids who’ll do it for free and for fun – in NZ and abroad – and you have a collapse in what anyone will get paid for those services.

This, too, applies to once specialised and expensive equipment: you can shoot a (technically) releasable film on a stills camera, you can buy lights, steadicams, audio recorders for a hundreds of dollars; you can cut, grade, mix and do FX for your film on your desktop computer. This has exploded so quickly it’s a disaster for those who invested heavily in what was state of the art equipment only five or so years ago.

For all of us already in the industry, our skills and equipment are simply ‘worth’ less than they were just a few short years ago.

A consistent mantra has been that having crews busy on international productions will assist us to tell our own stories on screen too. I don’t necessarily believe that’s axiomatic.

3. The biggest problem facing local filmmakers is that our domestic audience is so small it can’t support our films. Even ‘hits’ lose money: for our domestic market, our films are already ‘too expensive’.

All of the factors above have crashed the already modest amount NZ films can make back here and abroad. The market tells us New Zealand films have to be made more cheaply than ever. Does subsidised international production help that happen?

When we were making Under the Mountain in Auckland in 2008 there were at least two other big productions going on in the city. We simply couldn’t find studio space to shoot in, so we ended up repurposing a tyre factory. There were some (I repeat only some) crew members who took a very hard-ball, market-forces approach to the rate they wanted to be paid to work on our film, comparing to what they could / would get on the other ‘shows’ in town. We lost an key actor to a longer running gig on a visiting TV show.

One could make the argument that this is a win-win for cast and crew and a market-forces wake-up call for local producers … but it’s those same market forces that are bearing down on us all now.

One could make the argument (I am not making this argument) that the best thing that could happen to boost local production would be for international production to go away, and for our industry to ‘correct itself’ to match the size of our local market.

I would argue that what is good for big Hollywood storytelling (as increased subsidies surely are) is not necessarily good for New Zealand storytelling.

You’d be doing well now to get a budget for a local film that’s a quarter to a half what Under the Mountain was made for five years ago. NZ filmmakers are saying the same things as international filmmakers: “how can we get this for less?”, because that’s what they are hearing down the whole chain from funders to buyers (and the starting point for ‘less’ these days is nothing).

Because of the size of our market we will always lose when market forces shape how or why we make New Zealand moving image content (or books, art, music). I think we need a much broader conversation about how we create, support, value and fund our local content and its creators. What is the natural / appropriate size of our film industry? What do people in that industry want to be working on? What do New Zealander audiences want from our filmmakers? Do New Zealanders want New Zealand films at all? What should people who create local content expect in terms of job security or a living, or should their eyes always be on stepping up into the international content industry? Or only dabbling as hobbyists?

Would increased subsidies bring back some work? I hope – for the sake of many good and talented people I know – it would. But as the rapacious ‘content’ juggernaut continues to devour everything in its path, I wouldn’t set much store in job security or improved remuneration for those making briquettes to shovel into its furnace. The ‘level playing field’ brings us at best on par with what Hollywood sees as a basic raw material it can get from anywhere to consume as it sees fit. Our key talent alone won’t bring them here – if they want a particular person they will (and do already) fly them to wherever the project is happening.

Films I’ve written or directed – with 100% New Zealand content – have spent more than $20 million on local cast, crew and services. I would love to be part of an industry that can continue to do that ... I don’t see it as my right, or as something that’s necessarily likely, but I think it will take something very different from simply increasing the subsidies for international film productions to shoot here for that to happen.

I hope we can find a way forward that isn’t about any one group’s self-interest, that isn’t about short term fixes to a broken or exploitative model and that would make, at least, everyone’s hard work worth more than just a paycheck. Not that there’s anything wrong with a paycheck. 

71

Need

by Jackie Clark

Getting sick of the kids leaving their clothes behind, I would duly go and put them in the Cancer Society bins.  (The clothes, not the children).  And then, about six months ago, Womens’ Refuge suddenly popped into my mind. I knew there was one around here because some of our mums, in the past, had used it.

So I looked them up online and gave them a ring. A lovely woman came to get the clothes I had for her.  A woman who was weary, and wary, and who, I later found out was the Refuge Co-ordinator.  She was really pleased to get the clothes for the kids at the Refuge, and I told her I would get some more stuff together. I did that, she came and got it, and then suddenly, it blurted out of her mouth, a long list of stuff they had desperate need of, for one of their women in particular.

I put out the call on Facebook, and Twitter, and a few things were dropped off. A trickle rather than a deluge, let’s put it like that.

I thought nothing of it. But the Co-ordinator would ring me, or message me on Facebook, and tell me what was needed urgently. At one point, the Manager of the Refuge said that I was their largest benefactor. This threw me, and appalled me, and I decided that this was bigger than a one woman job.

Because it transpires that this tiny Refuge, Te Whare Marama, is not part of the National Collective. It was started 21 years ago by the Mangere Law Centre because they were getting so many bashed women through their doors. They've only ever been funded by MSD for 2 1/2 staff, -- for 10 yrs, the previous co-ordinator was doing no applications for funding, so there was nothing extra for the women, at all. Much of the time, there still isn't anything extra.

The women don’t just turn up and live there for free – although, actually most of them do. They pay on a sliding scale if and as they can. Even so, the Refuge pays for all their toiletries and other sundries. None of them have clothes or shoes in the main, and are so very grateful for anything they receive.

After a couple of months of this,  during my bereavement leave, having some time on my hands, I started communicating with the Refuge Co-ordinator again about their needs. So having established that this was more than I could take on by myself, I gathered together a group of people – who I have fondly named the Aunty Mafia – to help me.

We talked about what the Refuge required, and how we could make meeting those needs more sustainable. It transpires that there is a big need for this: welcome packs for each family (there are around 36 families a year who use this Refuge), and vouchers for furniture and household purchases when they finally move on. Some funding has been foundfor  a financial freedom course giving one-to-one time to the mums to plan, educate and get them out of debt and started up with better financial decisions.  That will begin next year. But other stuff is going to take a lot of money. So we’re looking at ways of doing that. 

And in the meantime, there’s Christmas, and its attendant difficulties for people who have nothing.  I’ve organized to have this Christmas be one that the folks at the Refuge will remember. I’ve talked to all the women about what their needs might be, and in the process, have discovered that there are some needs that aren’t being met, and won’t be, by throwing a Christmas for them.

If you’ll allow me to, I would like to keep you updated on those needs, and right now, I have some requests I am wondering if any of you would be able to fulfill.

There are six women currently in this small Refuge, and 16 children (with one on the way).  And here is what they have told me they need, and what I have surmised they need:

They need nappies, disposable nappies.

They need baby products of all description.

They need underwear, in all sizes – knickers and bras.

They need bed linen, and duvets, and blankets, and pillows.

There is an enormous need for clothes and shoes. There is always a need for childrens’ clothes and shoes.

They need some technology. At least one more laptop.  Mobile phones and sim cards -- because the women's phones have been broken by their partners, or monitored and controlled.  Phones are a safety factor. The staff themselves currently work with the cheapest phones available.

They need, in my professional opinion, bikes – the big kids currently share one small one, which they zoom around, the very small front yard, on.

They need toiletries – toothpaste, soap, shampoos, conditioner, deodorants.

I could go on. What I will say is this: they need friends. So if you are interested in jumping onboard, and helping me to keep this great little place afloat, just email me. And we’ll sort something out. I’m good like that. And you’ll feel great about it – I promise you that much. 

(If you click the email icon under this post your mail will go through to Russell, who will pass it on to me.)

PS: You can contribute money as well as things via the Refuge's bank account: ASB 12-3076-0489694-00 . Use Jackie as the reference.

46

TPP: Nearing Endgame

by Hadyn Green

You may have heard that last week Wikileaks released a new draft of the TPP IP chapter. This document was circulated after the Brunei round and reflects the scuttlebutt I had heard while at that negotiating round. In short, the US was pushing hard in the copyright chapter for very strict rules and that there was a lot of discussion on pharmaceuticals.

The draft includes the proposals and oppositions of the various negotiating parties. As such we get a much clearer idea of where each country stands. New Zealand, for example, looks like it’s taking a stand against strict copyright law, something we should be proud of (for the time being).

On To Promote the Progress, Gabriel J. Michael has done an excellent analysis on each country’s position and who they stand alongside. While his analysis doesn’t look at what each country is proposing, it does show some interesting trends in which countries are working together.

For example Michael finds that “there appears to be a strong negotiating network between Singapore, Chile, Malaysia and New Zealand”. Also interesting is that New Zealand agrees more with those countries (and Canada) than Australia. Australia though is the US’s closest ally.

The US and Japan are the loneliest countries, with the fewest number of proposals with other countries. They also have the second and third highest numbers of solitary proposals (Canada oddly is first in this category).

The cut down network graph is the one that makes the most sense. This shows exactly which countries are working together (click to enlarge): 

The US isn’t on that graph.

As I mentioned on Consumer NZ you can see the disparity on the first page of the IP chapter:

[NZ/CL/PE/VN/BN/MY/SG/CA5/MX6 propose; US/JP oppose: The objectives of this Chapter…

The US and Japan oppose what the objectives of the IP chapter are, this doesn’t bode well.

Looking at this document, and knowing that the most recent IP negotiator meeting in Tokyo was a bust, any reasonable person would say that there is no way this will be signed by early December. Not without serious capitulation by certain countries.

And this is why the leak is so important. We now know each country’s position, so we can see who caved to whom. Should our Government sign this in its current form we can all see where they sold us out.

Pharmaceuticals is clearly still a major issue with the US pushing for patent extensions for any conceivable reason and for patents to be granted to surgical procedures. This is the sort of patent law which sees patients left hanging or paying exorbitant fees for medical treatments. New uses for drugs, even if that use is not as effective, can be cause for a patent extension.

Longer patents for drugs, means longer waits for generic drugs and higher drugs prices. This in turn could see the cost of health insurance premiums rise.

The Nyes Institute released an analysis of the impact on health in New Zealand from the TPP:

Improving regulatory coherence, maximizing efficiency and economic growth are valid and worthwhile goals of TPP negotiations. A signed agreement would almost certainly be benefit New Zealand’s economic measures. However, it is important that legitimate health goals can coexist with economic aims.

The TPP has considerable potential to promote New Zealand’s economic growth and regulatory coherence. However, provisions which directly or indirectly threaten population health could undermine these benefits unless meticulous attention to detail can be paired with pragmatic forecasting of science. The TPP’s binding commitments necessitate detailed advice and analysis by the health experts. The confidentiality of TPP texts makes the requisite analysis by acknowledged experts impossible. Developing a more transparent mechanism for technical experts to provide much needed input is required.

If publishing draft texts is impossible then innovative approaches are needed to improve transparency, appropriately reassure the New Zealand public and minimize potential harms of the TPP.

This lack of transparency may be a shock to the United States Trade Representative’s office (USTR). Their head Michael Froman called the TPP “the most transparent trade negotiation in history,” and he did so while touring Paramount’s movie studio. Irony is also not on his radar.

While they may parade the number of stakeholders who have spoken at negotiation rounds (including me) listening is not the same as transparency. Steve from OpenMedia.ca notes that “Over 600 Industry lobbyists have been invited to the negotiations while citizen orgs, key decision-makers, and the public have been left out.”

In the interest of transparency the latest round of talks, being held right now in Salt Lake City, will “work closely with subject matter experts to advance the ball as far as possible on a number of outstanding issues."

Who are these subject matter experts? From what I’ve heard these experts will be similar to the ITAC-15 (the US Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property Rights), the group of businesses who have already seen the TPP documents. Note that while some New Zealand companies, such as Fonterra, are championing the TPP none have officially seen it.

Let’s be clear about something: signing the TPP in its current form is letting a foreign country (the US) and the foreign companies that lobby it write the law in this country. New Zealand has delayed the review of our copyright legislation because of the TPP, now we may have to change it in order to protect American media agencies.

Right now there is so much information out there on the TPP as both sides of the argument go into high gear. Many of the countries would like the TPP signed in early December, just looking at the leaked draft will tell you that they are nowhere near that. This means politicians will be horsetrading deals on what they will give up.

Again, because of the leak we now know each country’s position, so we can see who caved to whom. Should our Government sign this in its current form we can all see where they sold us out.

Consider this a call to action.

There is still a large portion of the population who have not heard about the TPP or know what it means for New Zealand. For some reason the media don’t seem to care for it either. Despite getting the leak exclusive from Wikileaks, the Herald buried the story on page 2, while TV3 left the story to the middle of their broadcast. So it’s up to you.

Post links to social media, talk to your friends and family about it, and always make it clear, this deal will make it worse for consumers.

Resources:

The Fair Deal campaign

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

A Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the TPP with members of EFF, KEI, Public citizen, Techdirt and OpenMedia.ca

The IP chapter on Wikileaks

A series of leaked “talking points” from pro-copyright groups

83

Gender quotas (and helping journalists with their maths)

by Rachel Boyack and Stephen Judd

TV3 political editor Patrick Gower left his viewers in no doubt on Sunday night as to the consequences of the Labour Party's conference resolution  to work towards representation by equal numbers of men and women, or "man-ban in drag" as he preferred to call it:

The new party rule means Labour's men may have to give up spots in parliament, earned on merit, to female MPs.

Labour's caucus is currently 42 percent female, but the quota means that number will have to rise to 45 percent by 2014, and 50 percent by 2017.

It means Labour's party list will be stacked if required, with women put ahead of men to meet the quota.

He had earlier made a similar claim on Twitter.

It wasn't hard to parse the language -- the context of  a male MP under alleged threat of gender-based deselection is clearly the only one in which you'll ever hear Gower grant that a member has "earned" a position "on merit". But it became apparent to me that Gower's facts were wrong too. So invited Rachel Boyack and Stephen Judd, who'd been discussing it on Twitter, to write a post about the issue. This is it. RB

---

My Labour Party colleague Stephen Judd and I have been asked by Russell to write a guest post on the Party’s gender equality resolution, which was passed resoundingly on the Conference floor on Sunday morning.  Stephen is the Chair of the Ilam Labour Electorate Committee (LEC), while I am the Region 5 Representative on the Party’s ruling NZ Council, which recommended the resolution to the Conference.

Specifically, we’ve been asked to look at the maths involved; will there be “demotions” of male MPs? as Patrick Gower asserted on Twitter and then on 3 News?

Before I get into the massive factual inaccuracy inherent in Paddy’s tweet (using actual maths), I must make some important statements about the rationale behind the changes.

  1. Under MMP, Labour has been “stuck” at between 30 and 40 per cent female MPs.  Considering the skills and capabilities of our New Zealand women, this just isn’t good enough.
  2. All the International evidence shows that such inequality is a result of structural discrimination.  It’s why we need Maori seats to address structural discrimination for Maori.  It’s why the Union movement exists (to address inherent inequalities in power between workers and employees). Etc, etc.

Most importantly, the argument that by addressing diversity we ignore quality is complete nonsense.  First, all candidates must meet the requirements of the agreed Strategic Selection Criteria, which lists the values, skills and experience needed to be considered for selection as a Labour MP.

Secondly, as I said on the Conference floor on Sunday morning, we need quality and diversity in our candidates.  They are one and the same thing.  The implication that they are not suggests that somehow in New Zealand we have a whole lot of incompetent women who are going to end up being MPs.  That’s a pretty offensive suggestion. 

On Thursday I presented at the Party’s campaign college and I was impressed at the number of women who introduced themselves and said they wished to be a candidate for the Party. These were skilled, capable women with diverse credentials ranging from academia to community leadership.  Many of these women will be great MPs and Party women are telling me they now feel empowered to put their hand up.  The glass ceiling that has disempowered them for so long is gone, and I reckon we will see some exciting and capable women emerge as potential candidates before the 2014 election.

 Now, to the maths.  The spreadsheet below is fairly self-explanatory.  Assumptions made are:

  1. Labour receives 40% of the 2014 Party Vote.
  2. Labour receives 42% of the 2017 Party Vote (this is an increase in PV of 5.01%, the same increase that Labour received between the 1999 and 2002 Elections).

Using the modelling below, you will see that in 2014, with a Party Vote of 40%, Labour will have a total of 48 MPs.  With at least 45% of those MPs being female, there will be 22 women and 26 men.  This is an increase of 6 men on current numbers.

Let me repeat that for you.  An increase of 6 men on current numbers.

Even if the unheard-of happens and equality is reached (look out! the sky is falling!) in 2014, there will still be an increase of 4 men on current numbers.

 4 more men.

At this point in my analysis, I’ve missed the demotions, but perhaps Paddy could be helpful and point them out to me (hint to Paddy: there aren’t any).

 

You will see from the table above, that based on my assumptions, there could be a scenario in 2017 where there is one less man in caucus following the General Election.  Given that there are always caucus retirements between elections, it would be pretty disingenuous in my opinion to excitedly squeal “demotions, demotions”.  There will be natural attrition.

You can see more of my analysis on twitter by searching for #MathsWithPaddy

Now I’ll throw to Stephen, who I believe is going to lay out why he thinks the Gender Equity Resolution is A Good Thing To Do.

Rachel Boyack

---

Yes, I am the chair of the Ilam LEC, cultivating that stony ground to eke out a harvest of Labour votes.

More relevantly, I'm a Labour activist who's also a man and a potential candidate. And this weekend's changes don't bother me a bit. In fact, I'm proud of them and happy for them.

I broadly see two kinds of argument playing out here. Let's call them "fairness" and "merit."

If you believe that men and women are equally able to be good MPs, then the current situation is an unfair situation. Reducing the proportion of men to 55% next election and 50% after that isn't wronging men who miss out as a result. It's correcting the wrong done to the women who are already missing out.

To the extent that this might impact me personally, it's only taking away an advantage I should never have had. I expect that my chances of candidacy have diminished -- to a point that reflects my real ability. That's what 50% means. You can't give up on a commitment to equality just because you personally are going to get your free bonus points taken away. When you're a kid, and you get a bigger slice than your sister by accident, and your parents cut a bit off to even up, you might complain, but when you're a grown man, you don't moan about it.

Fairness plays out at a group and individual level. Some might argue that enforcing fairness for women as a group could mean individual men, deserving men, get missed out. Interestingly, that flows into my thinking about "merit".

I've see a lot of comment about merit, about selecting the best, about a fear that we might not get the best with a quota. There's a lot to unpack there: what is merit? What is best? Do voters vote on merit? But let's put that aside for now.

Because I'm a programmer by vocation and I have to explain things to managers a lot, I like to work with very simple demonstrations. So let's conduct a little thought experiment. Assume that merit is about the skills and talents that make you a competent MP. Assume that men and women possess those skills and talents in equal measure to men.

Suppose we have 10 positions to fill. Suppose we pick the top 10 men and the top 10 women available in our pool. Let's grade them in rank order.

Men:     A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J

Women:     A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J

An equal selection looks like this:

Men:     A B C D E 

Women:     A B C D E

Now let's make an unequal 10 person selection, where men get 70% of the positions:

Men:     A B C D E F G

Women:     A B C

You can see that we've lost a D and an E grade person from among the women, and we have an inferior F and G grade person from among the men.

Labour has many thousands of members, balanced more or less 50-50 men and women. It's unlikely that there is much difference in distribution of talent in a pool that big. Even if the bar for MP-worthiness is just 1 in 100, as long as we believe that men and women have equal capability, Labour is going to lose capability if we don't get enough women.

Public Address's own Deborah Russell has often pointed out research showing that having more women on corporate boards improves organisational performance. If you're a gender essentialist, you might argue that's because of some inherent beneficial quality women have that men lack. But I think it's simply that if only the top 3% of women make it compared to the top 7% of men (or whatever numbers you like), and men and women have equal capacity, then the more you strive for equality of representation, the more you replace men with women who are more capable.

Of course as Rachel has pointed out, in any scenario where Labour grows its caucus, we're not going to remove men. We're just going to add more women. And that's a good thing for the capability of the caucus, the party and ultimately the country.

If you check the party constitution, you'll see that the very first statement of party objectives is:

"To elect competent men and women to Parliament and local authorities through free elections for the purpose of giving effect to Party policy and principles."

Competent men and women, folks. Competency comes first.

The new rule is consistent with our objective of electing competent men and women; it's consistent with the belief in the equal capacities of men and women; it's consistent with our princples about equality and equity. And that's why I support it.

Stephen Judd

28

About Radio NZ's new "millennial" venture, The Wireless

by Megan Whelan

Much is made of how awful, lazy and self-obsessed Millennials are. They are apparently fickle and flighty and have no attention span. They’re obsessed with celebrity and politically disengaged, and care more about instagramming their lunch than they do about the big issues. They’re entitled and delusional.

But they’re facing huge issues. Personal ones like how to save enough to buy a house or have a family, and then retire. Like illness and immigration, and what to do next in their lives. Relationships and employment. And broader issues like the economy, climate change, poverty and crime.

One young Aucklander told researchers for The Wireless and Colmar Brunton he is worried about “human rights - we live in such a bizarre world, structured by systems that exploit its inhabitants. I am concerned with issues of structural poverty and believe that everyone … should be given the same opportunities.”

Another, a Pasifika student, said she is worried about the state of the world, “as everything is looking pretty despairing re unrest, discontent, economies in recession, high unemployment, environment being trashed, climate change, natural disasters.” She said it is easy to become quite negative about what the future holds. “Especially when we will also be expected to pay more taxes to support an older population.”

Though finding information has never been easier, it has arguably never been more important for that information to be accurate. A 2011 study found 89% of survey respondents, aged between 13 and 24, indicated that they learn about sexual health-related issues online – just a few more than the 83% who ask doctors or nurses. And, sure, if they’re accessing good information from a credible source, then that’s great. But it’s not so good if they’re crowdsourcing on Twitter which contraception to use.

Whether old-school journos like it or not, Twitter and other social networks are where “digital natives” are getting their information. They don’t care about the mastheads, they want their news shared from people they trust. And a market research firm called YPulse reported that two-thirds of Millennials think, even then, the information they’re getting can’t be trusted.

Here at Public Address and elsewhere, the media’s inability to adapt to a digital world, and to continue to deliver important journalism is referenced often. In the clamour for voices, it can be hard to distinguish what’s real. In the wake of this year’s Boston bombings, nearly a third of “relevant tweets” were rumours or fake information. Only 20 percent were real, accurate facts.

One young Aucklander told researchers “I use news websites such as the New Zealand Herald, BBC or CNN. The information presented on these websites I always take with a pinch of salt because I know that the media is not the most reliable source of information.” Another said “I get most of my information from the news, but I think it’s important to realise that this source of information can have some bias”.

That’s where we come in. The Wireless is aiming to tell entertaining, informative New Zealand stories for those people that have grown up in the digital age. We’ll tell their stories without advertising, without shying away from controversy, and with all of Radio New Zealand’s core ethics of accuracy, fairness, independence, respect and diversity. Radio New Zealand has an obligation to serve a wide range of interests, and all age groups. And while there are parts of the organisation who do that last part well, only a small percentage of its audience are younger listeners. The Wireless is reaching out to them.   

So here we are. We’ve been a long time coming. The Wireless grew out of agitation for a non-commercial youth radio network. That ship has probably sailed, but there’s still a need – more than ever - for quality, public service media for 18-30 year-olds. Ish.  And in the age of graph search and targeted advertising, not only are we not selling anything, we’re not taking anything from them either.

We’re a small team, and there are only so many hours in the day. But we have plans and ideas and ways to make The Wireless grow and evolve. So far, indications are that there’s a niche to be filled and we’re excited to be finally live to share some of these great stories. More are coming. In the meantime, there are always GIFs. 

 Megan Whelan is a senior producer for The Wireless, Radio New Zealand’s new online venture for the so-called “millennial generation”.