Auckland Save RNZ protest a success

by Jake Quinn

Jake Quinn at today's Save RNZ Protest

This afternoon’s protest for Save Radio NZ in Auckland went well.  It had a good feel about it.  The approach was to have fewer politicians and more locals giving speeches.

Chris Trotter showed up and spoke, as did Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, Dr Martin Hirst from AUT, a few local politicians ( The Green’s Keith Locke and Labour’s Carol Beaumont) and me.

TV3 reporter, Chris Whitworth, notes on the TV3 website:   “Let’s not let the sharks bite Radio NZ!” was protest organiser and founder of the Facebook group ‘Save Radio New Zealand’ Jake Quinn’s closing statement to the crowd. He says the Government is testing the waters with “nibbles” at RNZ and if the nation doesn’t react they risk a major blow to democracy.

This is an important point, and the reason why the Save Radio New Zealand Facebook group exists.  If we make enough noise, Finance Minister Bill English’s scalpel will back off (or go elsewhere).  That’s what we are trying to achieve.

Extra funding would, of course, be great – the network, as the 2007 KPMG report noted, is already well underfunded to deliver on its job description set out in legislation.

More realistically, however, we just want to avoid the types of cuts and organisational changes which we oppose (things like sponsorship and advertising being the main culprits).

Christ Trotter claimed that he thinks the battle has been won.  He thinks there are too many Radio New Zealand listening National Party voters and supporters to let Coleman get away with seriously undermining the state funded public service broadcaster.  I hope he’s right, but I don’t think we are anywhere near there yet.

I do think that the Facebook site has a good bit of growth left in it yet.  Shortly, we will approach John Key’s number of fans, then we may exceed it.  If and when that happens, you’d think that might get the attention of the mainstream media – as it would be a story challenging Key’s epic popularity – but we won’t hold our breaths.

[Update: Check out the Don’t Save Radio New Zealand campaign on Facebook, it has, after a week or so, just 103 fans compared to our 17,500.  Heh.]