Accountant on board of NZ on Air

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A Dunedin man recently appointed to the board of NZ On Air is looking forward to learning more about the media landscape in the country.

Accountant Stuart McLauchlan was appointed to the six-member board by Arts, Culture and heritage minister Maggie Barry at the start of the month.

Mr McLauchlan said he had a long-standing interest in the production of local content, having been involved with the establishment of Otago Access Radio.

“That’s where my interest came from.”

NZ On Air provides funding towards the production of New Zealand content “to reflect and develop New Zealand identity and culture”, under the Broadcasting Act 1989.

NZ On Air’s new “Single Media Fund” came into effect in July.

Under the autonomous crown entity’s new model, funding is allocated to recipients under one of four streams: factual, scripted, music and platforms.

The strategy signalled a move to a more platform-neutral model.

The fund has about $38million available for factual, $42million for scripted, $43million for platforms and $4million for music content in the 2017-18 financial year.

The first round of funding under the new model was in July.

Mr McLauchlan said by introducing the new model, NZ On Air was responding to a changing media landscape.

“There’s a lot of disruption going on across all sectors, so it’s getting themselves ready for that because the younger audience, they interact in different ways to what we did.”

Mr McLauchlan said although he did not watch a lot of television, he was most interested in factual content.

“I’m more interested in documentaries. I’m more a factual person, historical and documentaries. I do watch Country Calendar.”

Country Calendar was the top-rated NZ on Air television show, with a national audience of 628,500.

Mr McLauchlan said farming had an enduring importance to New Zealand.

“Agriculture’s still a very important part of our economy and a big part of our cultural history as well.”

He identified Nigel Latta’s series The Hard Stuff, which sought to analyse and address key social issues in New Zealand, and Why Am I?, a 2016 series which analysed the findings of the longitudinal Dunedin study, as recent examples of high quality local documentaries.

Mr McLauchlan is also chairman of Scott Automation, Dunedin International Airport, Pharmac and the management committee of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

He said he managed his commitments well and took on only roles which he thought would be enjoyable.

Hewas “always learning” from other people who served in governance roles alongside him.