Free to air sports another policy no-go

A New Zealand First policy and claimed bottom line of showing major sports events including All Black test free to air looks to be a non starter with the incoming government.

NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell in January:  Billion Dollar Sport Spend Deserves Payback To Kiwis

Kiwis are forking out nearly a billion dollars annually to fund sport and recreation but can’t get any payback with free on-screen broadcasts of sport, says New Zealand First Sport and Recreation Spokesman Clayton Mitchell.

“In 2015 councils around the country spent $873 million on sport and recreation and taxpayers provided another $85 million to provide the best coaching and support our athletes required.

“But when our sports stars feature live on screen most Kiwis don’t see them because they do not subscribe to Sky.

“This is doubly unfair because Kiwi taxpayers support state television and then pay again to a private company for live sports broadcasts.

“To sort out this injustice, New Zealand First will ensure major domestic sporting fixtures, World Cup matches and Trans-Tasman grand finals with Kiwi teams and sports people, are back live on our screens in free-to-air broadcasts.

“All Kiwis should be able to see our sport stars when they compete,” Mr Mitchell says.

In March:  Free-to-air sport bill by Clayton Mitchell fails at first reading

Sports fans aren’t going to be able to watch major events live on free-to-air television, despite the best efforts of NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell drafted the member’s bill to amend the Broadcasting Act and on Wednesday night it came up for its first reading.

Parliament adjourned just before a vote was taken, but with National and Labour opposing it there’s no doubt about the outcome – it will be heavily defeated.

“This is important, it’s about treating all New Zealanders fairly and equally,” Mr Mitchell said when he kicked off the first reading debate.

Government MPs said the bill was “populist pandering”.

“Nothing is free, someone has to pay for it,” said Brett Hudson.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard said there was no way the bill could pass.

“No government is going to take $125 million a year off sport, that comes from broadcasting rights. The member’s heart is in the right place, it’s a pity his brain wasn’t engaged.”

June (NBR): NZ First MP says free-to-air sport will be an election issue.

It wasn’t.

Early this month: Free-to-air sport may be another ‘bottom line’ for Winston Peters

Newshub tonight showed footage of an old, unpublished interview in which the NZ First leader promised he would make significant sporting events free-to-air.

Speaking at the Karaka race horse sales in January this year, Peters told Newshub that “I’m not going to say we’re going to try and implement it – we will implement it”.

“Everybody that’s dealing with Winston Peters and NZFirst knows we intend, as in the past, to keep our word. So they should stop humbugging around. We don’t go making promises we don’t keep. We will deliver.”

NZ First policy: Broadcasting and ICT

  • Amend the Broadcasting Act to recognise sport as part of the New Zealand identity and to broadcast Games of National Significance live and on free-to-air television.

Today:  NZ First policy for free-to-air All Blacks tests a no-go under coalition agreement

Labour has ruled no-deal on the possibility of free-to-air All Blacks’ tests, or other major national sporting events.

NZ First leader Winston Peters earlier in the year said a law-change to provide free-to-air rugby would be the price of NZ First’s support in forming a government, though it’s one National is believed to have also refused to bend on.

Labour has moved to scotch any anticipation the policy might be written into the final agreement, following comments from NZ First sports and recreation spokesperson Clayton Mitchell that it was “still on the table”.

Mitchell said in the interview on Saturday it was discussed in coalition talks, and the prospect of Kiwis getting free-to-air access to significant sporting games was still on the table.

A spokesman for Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern has confirmed it was not in the agreement.

I had serious doubts whether this policy would survive common sense negotiations. I’d love more free-to-air sport but I don’t think the Government should be financing it.

Mixed messages coming out of the parties going into Government together.

Ardern has also said that Labour policy on immigration remains intact, meaning drastic reductions promised by Peters also look like not happening.

It was inevitable that some NZ First (and Green policies wouldn’t make the cut).

Details of the governing agreements will be released on Tuesday, but some are being leaked.

Predator Free would cost ‘trillions’

Clayton Mitchell, NZ First spokesperson on Conservation, has said that “the cost of keeping the entire country predator free and maintaining it would see a capital expenditure cost of $1.67 trillion and an operating cost of $91 billion per annum”.

This is his whole media release: Predator Free – a Trillon Dollar Cost

A predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is likely to cost trillions, not millions as the government claims, says New Zealand First.

“The National government’s promise to make New Zealand predator-free for the bargain price of $28 million is nothing but greenwashing,” says Conservation Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.

“Zealandia, a predator free plant and bird sanctuary in Wellington, cost $17 million to set up with an operating cost of $867,000.

“Using these figures as a yardstick, the cost of keeping the entire country predator free and maintaining it would see a capital expenditure cost of $1.67 trillion and an operating cost of $91 billion per annum – as New Zealand is 98,000 times larger than Zealandia.

“The operating cost alone would be 40% of New Zealand’s GDP.

“According to the Conservation Minister, the private sector will be willing to share the burden with additional funding.

“The government’s targets are totally unrealistic.

“New Zealand First recognises that the preservation and enhancement of the environment requires sound economics.

“Unlike National we believe that we must set appropriate and realistic environmental goals,” says Mr Mitchell.

FFS.

David Farrar calls this as “may be the stupidest release put out by NZ First since they complained about the Reserve Bank being owned by foreigners” and there’s a few uncomplimentary comments too under Meet the future NZ First Minister of Finance.

Mitchell is also NZ First spokesperson on Sport and Recreation and spoke today in Parliament on Motions — 2016 Olympic Games—Success of New Zealand Team

A thought to think about as we go into new sporting events and, of course, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are the people who paid and enabled this event to take place, and who put our sportspeople on the international stage so that we can swell with national pride.

We should have given them the ability to watch these games of national significance live and free to air, as we once enjoyed in previous times gone by. We would like to see this House support that as it comes up in the future. It is affordable, and I think, if you ask the people who stay in touch with New Zealanders, there is a huge desire for it.

So he wants “games of national significance live” free to air. Coverage of the Olympics is anything but free.

But he didn’t do any costings -it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a rough estimate of trillions.