Kiwi gov’t surprises TV biz with coin

Maharey announces unexpected increase

AUCKLAND — The government has given Kiwi TV producers a NZ$12 million ($7.5 million) boost with extra coin to funder New Zealand on Air.

Unexpected increase was announced Thursday by Broadcast Minister Steve Maharey in the government’s annual budget.

Producers and the networks welcome the 25% hike over four years — NZOA is the majority funder for commercial programming in a swath of genres.

Maharey said the money should be used to improve quality and diversity while maintaining local programming levels.

But the injection will be a relief to TV producers who have been largely ignored in budget handouts.

They’ve been worried that the government was ignoring TV in favor of subsidies to movies after the high-profile success for locally filmed trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.”

The coin is distinct from increased direct funding to pubcaster TVNZ, which will get $15 million this year for public service shows.

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