< November 2022 newsletter

Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill Submission

We at Democracy Action have significant concerns about the independence of public media under the proposed legislation. We believe the bill does not adequately safeguard editorial freedom.

While there is a measure of editorial independence provided for in the bill, (clause 15), it is less than watertight. The existing Charter at RNZ is much stronger. 

Currently TVNZ and RNZ are Crown Entity Companies, making them legally independent from the Crown and unable to be directed by government ministers. However, classifying the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media entity as an ‘Autonomous Crown Entity,’ as proposed in the bill, will make it vulnerable to the influence of the government of the day. The opportunity to do so is clearly spelt out in the Crown Entities Act 20004. Under clause 104 of the Act the Minister responsible for an Autonomous Crown Entity has the power to direct the entity to have regard to government policy. 

Independent public broadcasting, free of government interference, is vital to a well-functioning democracy. The media must be able to hold the powerful to account, and to raise controversial issues without fear or favour. 

Public trust in the media starts with firmly enshrining their independence in law. The proposed new media entity must not only be free from political interference, but also seen to be so. Under this bill we do not have the confidence that this would be the case. 


Our foremost recommendation is that the legislation ensures the absolute independence of the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media entity. Indeed, we submit that this be the number one priority. Public broadcasting must be completely independent and free of government interference in any way, shape, or form, and seen to be so. 

Additionally, we also recommend that the proposed Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media entity be required to undergo an annual independent review of the entity’s independence and integrity. And that this report be made publicly available. 

This submission on the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill is lodged on behalf of Democracy Action Inc. Democracy Action was established in 2012 in Auckland by a group of citizens concerned about the erosion of democratic principles. We have members throughout New Zealand.

I write this submission as secretary for the group. It does not necessarily reflect all the views of any or all members of Democracy Action, but it does reflect the group’s overall view. 

Go back to the November 2022 newsletter


Democracy Action oral submission to Auckland Council re: designated Māori seats

Oral submission to the Auckland Council Governing Body on 2 October 2023 Good morning your worship Mayor Brown and Councillors. Thank you for this opportunity to share our views on the council’s proposal to introduce designated Māori seats. I am here representing Democracy Action – a group of citizens advocating for the protection of democracy and equality of citizenship. Continue reading

Submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill

We have put together a simple submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill, which you are welcome to use as a template for your own. Remember the final day for submissions is Wednesday 1 November. Continue reading

Submission on the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill

Below is our submission on the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill. Continue reading

Submission on the Natural and Built Environment Bill

Below is a copy of our written and oral submissions on the Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill. Continue reading

Our key concerns with the Water Services Entities Bill

The impact of the Water Services Entities Bill will be profound. The public and many local authorities appear to share many common concerns about provisions set out in the Bill. These include: Continue reading

Submission on the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill

  WRITTEN SUBMISSION Democracy Action does not support the Bill.  We do not support establishing iwi-based power by appointment in our governance arrangements. Therefore, we oppose the purpose of the Act, that is, to enable Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to 2 members to the Canterbury Regional Council.  We urge the Government to reject the Bill in its entirety.  Continue reading

Submissions on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill

Oral submission text: Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill. I am presenting this submission on behalf of Democracy Action.  Firstly, I want to make it clear we wholeheartedly support the purpose of the Act - that is to protect, promote, and improve the health and future health of all New Zealanders. But, if the intention is to improve the health of ALL New Zealanders, this proposed legislation is absolutely the wrong way to go about it.  Continue reading