Im­mi­gra­tion and free to air sports

South Waikato News - - Out & About -

Our po­lit­i­cal Q&A for Taupo can­di­dates this week asks if they sup­port a drop in im­mi­gra­tion and any more to have free to air cov­er­age of sig­nif­i­cant sport­ing events.

and high sui­cide rates. If we feel threat­ened that im­mi­grants will com­pro­mise the pos­i­tive as­pects of our cul­ture, can we feel op­ti­mistic that they will pro­vide so­lu­tions to the prob­lems we face as ki­wis?

Yes re­strict­ing low-skilled work­ers and en­cour­ag­ing more highly skilled work­ers, and mak­ing changes to tem­po­rary mi­gra­tion set­tings. We’ve also re­duced the num­ber of residency ap­provals. We’ve al­ready made changes to im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies which ben­e­fit the re­gions and the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try, in­clud­ing tripling the bonus points for skilled mi­grants with job of­fers out­side Auck­land and a new path­way to res­i­dence pol­icy for 4000 long-term tem­po­rary mi­grants and their fam­i­lies in the South Is­land.

The Gov­ern­ment does not sup­port manda­tory free to air cov­er­age of ma­jor sport­ing events. To sup­port New Zealand teams and other tax­pay­er­sup­ported events would in­volve costs of around $1000 per house­hold. The devel­op­ment of new con­tent providers and chan­nels of dis­tri­bu­tion means there are more ways to ac­cess sport con­tent than ever be­fore. How sport is broad­cast is likely to di­ver­sify through on­line por­tals, ‘‘Day Passes’’ for ex­ist­ing providers, new types of providers (for ex­am­ple, an on­line sub­scrip­tion service) and other meth­ods. Ma­jor sports or­gan­i­sa­tions such as NZ Rugby are re­liant on rev­enue raised from li­censed broad­cast­ing rights. Free-to-air broad­cast­ers would not be able to match the level of bids of­fered by pay TV providers such as Sky. As a re­sult, man­dat­ing free-to-air would cre­ate a sub­stan­tial short­fall in rev­enue which would end up be­ing cov­ered by the tax­payer. Dig­i­tal con­ver­gence is cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion will lead to lower prices for con­sumers. Some ma­jor events al­ready re­ceive some freeto-air cov­er­age, for ex­am­ple through Prime. TVNZ has al­ready suc­cess­fully bid for the rights to the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games, one of the events pro­posed for the ‘‘Na­tional Sig­nif­i­cance’’ list. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said: ‘‘Let’s pre­pare our work force for the fu­ture of work and up­skill our work­ers. We are not fix­ated on im­mi­gra­tion num­bers but rather on get­ting the set­tings right, if busi­nesses have gen­uine skill short­age they can al­ways ac­cess mi­grant labour to fill it.’’

We are a sport­slov­ing na­tion and it’s very im­por­tant to keep up with ma­jor sports events. Rugby is so pre­cious to all of us. Not all of us can af­ford to get Sky sports chan­nels or go to the pubs to watch ma­jor sports events like Amer­ica’s Cup, FIFA World Cup, net­ball tests, All Blacks tests and the Olympics for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

The re­sult, many Ki­wis miss the op­por­tu­nity and it would be great to change that. As Labour MP I would sup­port any ef­forts to pro­vide free to air cov­er­age of ma­jor sport­ing events to al­low more Ki­wis to en­joy them with friends and fam­ily.

Julie Sandi­lands

Louise Up­ston

Ala’ Al-bus­tanji

Alan Sim­mons

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