Local Democracy Reporting Service announced

Eight reporters plus a manager will be recruited for the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which will supply news to media.

This has been given $1 million for a one year trial.

RNZ: Publishers, public broadcaster and the public purse back new local news scheme

Publicly funded reporters will be employed by news publishers around the country in a first-of-its-kind scheme unveiled today to address declines in local news coverage. It’s the result of a government-approved collaboration between RNZ, publishers and the government’s broadcasting funding agency.

Eight reporters will be recruited to report local news around the country under a new scheme created by the Newspaper Publishers Association, RNZ and the government’s broadcasting funding agency New Zealand on Air (NZOA).

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) will generate news and content available to media outlets including RNZ, the country’s biggest newspaper publishers  – Stuff, NZME and South Island publisher Allied Press – and small local publishers too.

One million dollars to fund the scheme comes from the $6m Joint Innovation Fund for RNZ and NZOA established by the government in last year’s Budget to create “more public media content for under-served audiences” including regional New Zealand.

While public money has bankrolled broadcasting for decades, it’s never before paid for news reporters at privately-owned media companies. New Zealand on Air has only funded broadcast news projects in recent years.

“It has become increasingly clear that New Zealanders want and need more reporting on the issues at home that affect them and the commercial market is finding it difficult to meet these needs,” said NZOA chief executive Jane Wrightson in a press statement.

Is it clear that people want more reporting on local issues? I haven’t seen any calls for this, or evidence of this.

It is probably a good idea, but a challenge will be making local democracy news interesting to read or watch.

Audio: RNZ’s Paul Thompson and Rick Neville of the NPA talking to Mediawatch about the new scheme duration23:02


Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  28th May 2019

    Ninety-nine percent of local news goes into the bin unread. Hard to believe this will be different except in taking your tax dollars with it. People watch GoT, MAFS and Netflix instead.

  2. David

     /  28th May 2019

    Dont the taxpayers already fund National Radio, Maori TV, Concert radio and own TVNZ ?

  3. Ray

     /  28th May 2019

    With the crash of advertising income the media have been pushing for government subsidies for some time.
    Is this the answer?
    People vote with their feet when it comes to Government propaganda or rather their eyes and ears by ignoring it.
    Is this what the media want?
    I guess an ability to stick to their wage packet and ability to lecture us all from a bully pulpit is just too good to turn down.

    • Blazer

       /  9th June 2019

      ‘With the crash of advertising income the media have been pushing for government subsidies for some time.’

      yes Ray..that much vaunted catchcry of the ‘efficiency of private enterprise’ exposed AGAIN…we want gummint money!

  4. Duker

     /  28th May 2019

    Likely the local councils have PR people on the payroll who cost 50x that new funding. The news media hardly touch their output as its ‘good news’ but lap up other ‘reports’ from places like Teachers Tribunal, Health/disability Commission, Tenancy tribunal etc as it has ‘Conflict’ and often suits their ‘identity news’, ie stories about the demographic 18-45 that advertisers are interested in.
    NZ on Air already funds TV programs that never appear on broadcast TV but go straight to On demand. this news service will be the same , 75% of the output wont be used unless it screams conflict, green issues and or involves people under 30 especially with young kids.

  5. Pink David

     /  28th May 2019

    Make-work scheme.

  6. metrosideros

     /  9th June 2019

    This is a great move. Theres no way citizens can constructively keep their councils honest without better local coverage of what councils are up to and how they make decisions.


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