The major news angle out of the Television New Zealand Amendment Bill has, understandably, been its shooing-out of the Charter in favour of only the most vestigial of public broadcasting obligations. But there's something genuinely innovative there too: Part 4A --TVNZ archived works.
This part of the bill aims to smooth the way through the mass of uncleared rights that have been keeping hundreds of hours of heritage public television off our screens. It requires a fund to be established from which compensatory payments may be made to rights holders, and sets up process for rights holders to register and interest and receive a compensatory payment from that fund. Holders may also seek a review of any decision on compensation.
NZ On Screen has shown in the past 18 months that rights holders will generally be reasonable in allowing programmes to be made available on a public good basis. But clearing programmes for actual broadcast is a different matter. Sometimes, rights holders can't even be located. This new process should help to unlock the archive.
Happily, the bill even includes a provision for TVNZ to grant screening rights to Maori Television of the programmes it clears -- and to "enter into arrangements with NZ On Screen to screen archived works," so long as they are screened free of charge.
The chattering classes are seized by the question of the hour: is Sean Makes Crafts a hoax or what?
Well, clearly, it's not a hoax: there's some solid craft advice there, although Sean's harsh words about Spotlight and praise for the "far superior" Goldings may be seen as controversial; provocative, even.
The question ought to be, is Sean Plunket actually writing it? Nah. But it's clearly someone who works at Radio New Zealand, and it's brilliant. Still puzzled? Start with the Welcome post. You'll need that before you even think about taking on pasta diaramas.
Fancy an analysis of New Zealand's economic challenges that actually contains some, well, analysis? You may like Economic geography, globalisation and New Zealand’s productivity paradox, a 69-slide presentation (PDF) by Phillip McCann, Professor of Economic Geography University of Groningen, The Netherlands and Professor of Economics University of Waikato.
Unlike Don Brash, McCann notes that New Zealand enjoys a transparent and largely corruption-free business environment, good-quality institutions, a sound regard for property rights, light regulation and a relatively small public sector – and yet its economic performance is markedly worse than other countries that do not enjoy these apparent advantages. Why?
A New Zealand version of the Atheist Bus Campaign seems to be off to an excellent start. They're seeking $10,000 in donations and are already closing in on $4000. The funds raised will cover a series of bus advertisements (same message as the UK: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.
But the campaign also aims to promote debate on issues such as God, religion and religion’s influence on society. Religion should not be a taboo subject that no one brings up at dinner parties – we should be discussing what we believe and why."
Should you be so moved, you can donate at the site, and also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.
Last night's Media7 show is here on TVNZ's website. It's the first of our summer series, recorded at Artisan winery in West Auckland. Of particular interest in this one are Simon Pound's report on the new boutique ad agency Rascals, and my interview with Australian media buyer and general legend Harold Mitchell. 95bFM listeners can also check out Fabian Fanboy in his guide as Dominic Corry.
Simon and I dined with Harold Mitchell after we shot the interview this week, and that was very pleasant; he's an interesting, and interested, man. His book, Living Large, is a combination memoir and business manual which (unusually for that genre) doesn't suck, he's the chair of the new Melbourne franchise for the Super 15 and, as Drinnan notes today, he is likely to shake up the comfortable practices of the local advertising industry in the coming year.
Amplifier's staff have named their Top 20 local albums for 2009, and the toppermost is Lawrence Arabia's Chant Darling. Naturally, I approve of this.
And, finally, that nice man Mike Hodgson has a couple of passes to give away to Pitch Black's Auckland or Wellington shows with International Observer, next Friday and Saturday. Just email me with "Pitch Black" in the subject line.