Budget 2016- Iwi radio stations

Finance Minister Bill English will deliver the National-led Government’s eighth Budget today. 

While Iwi radio stations received $12 million over a four year period in the 2014 Budget, they are hopeful more resources and funding could come their way after the announcement.

Sources within the industry say the funding they have been assigned is insufficient as they've recently been urged by Te Māngai Pāho to increase their listenership and transition to a digital platform.

A source within the industry told online news, "If you divide $12m between 21 iwi stations over the course of 4 years, that's not a hell of a lot but its better than nothing, and iwi radio must use this extra funding wisely, to broaden our reach, increase content quality across multiple platforms, and more importantly find new and creative ways of engaging with our listenership to encourage more people to kōrero Māori."

For many stations, the move to digital is not necessarily an easy task, but assistance will be provided if needed.

In an interview with Te Kāea earlier in the year, Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori spokesperson Erana Reedy said, "The National Māori Radio Network will assist those radio stations who haven't yet got a firm grasp on the move to digital. So we're looking at how best we can help them reach an audience outside of their region."


Listenership has also been at the pinnacle of discussion in recent months. Te Māngai Pāho says around 300,000 people listen to 21 iwi radio stations around the country. However, they want more people listening. They say all iwi stations need to increase their radio audience by 2% over the next year. This directive was made at a National Maori Radio Network meeting in Auckland in February.

Te Māngai Pāho CEO John Bishara says there's no financial penalty for stations who don't increase their audience. He says iwi radio and television should produce innovative and exciting programmes in te reo Māori to stay in the game. 

Iwi radio stations could still possibly receive further funding from this year's Budget, but because the current funding is to see them through until 2018, it could be unlikely. 

The source says, "It is hoped that there will be more funding made available to Iwi Radio, to further invest in new technologies to make te reo and kōrero ā-iwi more accessible across a wide range of digital platforms, including radio frequency, portable devices, social media etc. Technology moves very quickly, and so do our people, iwi radio must remain current to remain relevant.

If iwi radio secures more funding from this years budget, i'm sure a large part of that will be invested in to new technologies. This will allow whānau and listeners anywhere in the world to tune in at any time. The reality is, most people today have a portable device in their hands, social media is a powerful tool to promote te reo, so iwi radio must embrace modern forms of communication."

The Budget 2016 announcement will be made at 2pm