Justice and Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has announced that the Broadcasting Amendment Bill will be introduced to Parliament next week.
Adams says the bill will remove the requirement for political parties’ opening and closing election broadcasts to be aired on television and radio.
It will also remove the requirement for TVNZ and Radio NZ to provide free time for these.
Adams explains that the planned refresh of the outdated format of election broadcasts aims to modernise them in time for next year's General Election.
“The addresses are an outdated format and declining audience numbers show they are not effective at engaging voters,” she says.
For example, Adams explains that during opening addresses in 2014, TVNZ received 25% fewer viewers than they would usually get.
“Reform of opening and closing addresses was recommended by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee in their Inquiry into the 2014 General Election. Both TVNZ and Radio NZ welcome the proposed change,” she says.
The Bill looks to recognise the growing use of digital and online media.
“I hope that by giving parties more flexibility in how they communicate their messages, more voters will engage in the electoral process,” says Adams.
“Parties will continue to be able to spend their own money on online advertising while funding for television and radio advertising remains limited to the funding allocated by the Electoral Commission.”
The Government has also agreed to increase election advertising funding by $750,000 - bringing the budget to $3.605 million.
It is expected the new Bill will eventually be considered alongside the Electoral Amendment Bill, which recently had its first reading in Parliament. The changes in both Bills are intended to be in in time for the 2017 General Election.