Skip to main content

A new Bill and two redrawn portfolios

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage (the Ministry) intends to approach key stakeholders in July/August 2017 to discuss detailed proposals relating to the Digital Convergence Bill.

The Bill is scheduled to have its First Reading and be referred to Select Committee by the end of 2017. It will update the Broadcasting Act 1989.

The Broadcasting portfolio was disestablished by Prime Minister Bill English on 18 December 2016 as part of his Cabinet reorganisation. The portfolio’s responsibilities were split between the Communications portfolio – led by Communications Minister Simon Bridges – and the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio – led by Minister Maggie Barry.

The Ministry now undertakes its broadcasting and media policy work as part of the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio. This aligns well with the portfolio’s broader focus on who we are and how we want to engage as a nation.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio includes setting policy on content regulation for convergence, including the Digital Convergence Bill. More information about this work is available at The portfolio also includes policy on the quality, diversity and accessibility of content. NZ On Air, RNZ (including Radio New Zealand International), the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the National Pacific Radio Trust have moved into the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio.

The Ministry’s work on broadcasting and media policy that relates to infrastructure and the transmission of content is now being done as part of the Communications portfolio. The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the department principally servicing the Communications portfolio, but the Ministry also provides advice where policy relates to wider convergence issues and trends. The Ministry will provide advice on commercial and publicly funded broadcasting and the allocation of radio spectrum. This work aligns well with the Communications portfolio as its focus is broadly about infrastructure that facilitates modern communications.

Matters such as advertising standards and regulation relating to print media will be dealt with under the Communications portfolio. The Ministry will continue to work alongside other agencies in delivering this policy work, including MBIE and the Treasury.

Published on 5th May 2017