< November 2021 newsletter

The corruption of the mainstream media

Most mainstream news organisations are making hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year, off the new Public Interest Journalism Fund.

The Public Interest Journalism Fund is a $55m government grant handed out to news media organisations by the Labour government, via NZ On Air. 

In return for funding, recipients must adopt certain editorial policies. One of these is to “actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi acknowledging Māori as a Te Tiriti partner.” The Labour government, through this fund, is attaching rules and strings to promote political propaganda. This is at odds with genuine editorial independence. 

As said by Sean Plunket: “The fundamental problem we have is that most people wouldn’t know what the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are. Because intellectual, academic, political and judicial elites have literally reworked the constitutional framework of this country over the last 20 years, without telling the person in the street. So, a whole lot of New Zealanders, are suddenly consuming a media which has been coerced, or willing embraced a vision of New Zealand which is totally at odds with the reality of their lives.”

To know just how much editorial control the leaders of the Public Interest Journalism Fund expect, we suggest you listen to RNZ’s Mediawatch podcast episodes “New journalism fund's first projects unveiled”, and “Huge journalism jobs boost from public purse

This fund is a clear breach of journalistic integrity.


To date, the top 10 recipients of the fund are NZME (NZ Herald and their stable of regional papers), Stuff, RNZ, Māori Television, the Otago Daily Times, Newsroom, The Spinoff, Radio Waatea/waateanews.com, The Indian Weekender and Newshub.


However, numerous other media companies are also recipients of this funding. 

For a full list of projects, industry development and roles that have been funded by the Public Interest Journalism Fund, please see Round 1 and Round 2 funding allocations.


1. Contact your local MP asking them to keep the Labour government under pressure over this fund.

2. Send an email to Judith Collins and David Seymour asking them to campaign to redesign this funding programme to remove all political elements.

3. Seek out independent journalism like Point of OrderThe BFD, The Daily Blog, and others.


Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again 12 October 2021

Amy Brooke: The bribing of the New Zealand media?  2 September 2021

Karl du Fresne: Journalism or Indoctrination? NZCPR 30 May 2021


Public Interest Journalism Fund: General Guidelines (Page 2)

On Point with Simon O’Connor: Sean Plunket – Journalist & Founder of The Platform

RNZ Mediawatch: New journalism fund's first projects unveiled

RNZ Mediawatch: Huge journalism jobs boost from public purse

Go back to the November 2021 newsletter


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