Radio New Zealand - FM frequency request

James Sergeant made this Official Information request to Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Currently waiting for a response from Ministry for Culture and Heritage, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: James Sergeant

Dear Ministry for Culture and Heritage,

This is a request for information under the Official Information Act. Please could you supply me with details of any correspondence or other communication between Radio New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage relating to the possible acquisition of a new FM frequency for radio services. This request can be limited to the period from 1 January 2019.

Yours faithfully,

James Sergeant

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From: OIA
Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Kia Ora James -

Thanks for your email.

I note you also requested the following:

"This is a request under the Official Information Act for any communications between the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Radio New Zealand during the calendar year 2019 about the possibility of Radio New Zealand acquiring an additional FM frequency to use for radio services."

Can you please confirm which timeframe you are interested in?

Kind regards,

Ministerial Services
Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage
He ngākau titikaha, he hononga tangata
Promoting a confident and connected culture
Public Trust Building, 131 Lambton Quay, Wellington
PO Box 5364, Wellington 6140
Ph +64 4 499 4229

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From: James Sergeant

Dear OIA,

Thank you for your follow up email. I am sorry for the confusion caused by submitting two similar requests - that was a technical error!

To clarify, the period I am interested in is the year from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019.

Yours sincerely,

James Sergeant

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From: OIA
Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Thank you for clarifying.

As it stands, the Ministry would be required to search through a substantial amount of material, i.e each email between RNZ and MCH to find any relevant material. For reference, there is likely to be many terms that are used to describe the topic you are interested in, so it is not possible to simply search for one phrase. It is likely that this request may be refused as the information cannot be made available without substantial collation and research. To restate, this is not because of the amount of material on this topic, rather the amount of material that needs to be searched through in order to find any relevant documentation.

With this in mind, is there any way you can refine your request so as to remove the reason for refusal? This could include making a smaller timeframe, or limiting your request to only include communications between senior officials, such as the Chief Executive, or Board members?

We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

Ministerial Services
Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage He ngākau titikaha, he hononga tangata Promoting a confident and connected culture Public Trust Building, 131 Lambton Quay, Wellington PO Box 5364, Wellington 6140 Ph +64 4 499 4229

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From: James Sergeant

Dear OIA,
Thank you for your request for clarification. I understand the need to minimise the amount of searching through records. To help clarify, my request follows this report on the NZ Herald website on 13 February 2020:

"But, speaking to MPs at a select committee this morning, both [Paul] Thompson and RNZ chairman Jim Mather said the broadcaster was told by officials midway through last year that there was little chance it would be able to use the 102 FM frequency for its planned youth radio channel.

Thompson said he was told by officials that it would be "very difficult to be able to gain access to the frequency, and to the funding required to support it".

"Therefore, we went on to develop our proposal as it was presented last week."

He confirmed that RNZ never explicitly asked for the 102 FM frequency; only that the broadcaster got the sense it was not a possibility."

Given the report above, I am content to limit the request to any communications or reports of communications from Ministry officials to Paul Thompson at Radio New Zealand about the availability of radio frequencies and to limit the time period to 1 May to 31 August 2019 (which should cover 'midway through last year').

Yours sincerely,

James Sergeant

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