Legislature broadcasters in New Zealand

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Parliament TV
The Parliament TV logo
Launched 9 October 2007
Owned by New Zealand Parliament
Picture format 576i 16:9 (SDTV)
Country  New Zealand
Headquarters Wellington City, New Zealand
Website Official website
Live stream
Freeview|HD Channel 22
Freeview Satellite Channel 22
SKY Television Digital Channel 86
Vodafone Channel 86
AM Network
Broadcast area New Zealand
Frequency AM frequencies: various
Owner Radio New Zealand
Webcast Live stream
Website Official website

Legislative broadcasters in New Zealand are broadcasters of the New Zealand Parliament House of Representatives. Television channel Parliament TV and radio network AM Network are dedicated to airing complete unedited live broadcasts of the proceedings of the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Office of the Clerk also funds a fully independent written, audio and video political reporting service of Parliamentary proceedings called Parliament Today.

Parliament TV is managed by Kordia under a long-term contract to the House of Representatives. [1] The Parliament TV feed is made freely available to all media companies. It currently broadcasts though media such as TVNZ and MediaWorks NZ, and as streaming video on the Internet. Since 9 October 2007 it is available on Freeview channel 22 and SKY Digital Channel 086.

The AM Network (Whatunga AM) is operated by Radio New Zealand under a similar contract. It uses a nationwide set of AM broadcasting transmitters that were previously used by The Concert Programme before it switched to FM broadcasting. The Parliamentary broadcasts are also available online, with live-streaming and an archive of on-demand podcasts.


Prior to the AM Network, Parliamentary broadcasts were carried on the National programme, with New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to broadcast Parliament regularly in on 25 March 1936.

Veteran press gallery journalist and political commentator Charles Wheeler introduced the broadcast of the opening of the 25th Parliament, with Speaker-elect Barnard. Wheeler told listeners on the first broadcast that "for the first time in the history of New Zealand broadcasting, the microphone has been introduced into Parliament itself so that even the most distant elector may gain some first-hand knowledge of the more important happenings". He said New Zealand was blazing the trail in allowing parliamentary broadcasts.[2]

Since the 1980s, the AM Network has used to broadcast all live Parliamentary proceedings in full. In 2007, Parliamentary coverage was expanded to television.


Sitting hours[edit]

Sitting hours are seasonal and are generally within five weekly sessions. Normal sittings are 14:00 and 18:00 Tuesdays; 19:30 and 22:00 Tuesday nights; 14:00 and 18:00 Wednesdays; 19:30 and 22:00 Wednesday nights; and 14:00 and 18:00 Thursdays. Special circumstances can allow Parliament to sit under urgency, usually between 09:00 Tuesday morning and 24:00 Saturday evening.[3]

Programming on Parliament TV is limited to live coverage of Parliament and scheduled repeats of Question Time on Parliamentary sitting days.[4]

The AM Network's Parliamentary broadcasts do not include continuity announcers or news bulletins, like other Radio New Zealand networks. The Radio New Zealand smartphone app allows listeners to follow individual Parliamentary sittings on Apple and Android mobile devices. The broadcaster claims its iPhone App has been downloaded more than 50,000 times since it was first introduced in 2011. In total, Radio New Zealand produces an estimated 17 hours of live Parliamentary broadcasting and just over an hour of packaged extracts.[5]

Non-sitting hours[edit]

Southern Star network

In order for the New Zealand Parliament to recoup some of the costs of funding a radio network, Radio New Zealand has leased the remaining closedown hours on the station since 1997. Christian broadcaster Rhema Media has consistently held this lease, and set up low-budget easy listening Southern Star Network to take advantage of this opportunity.[6]

The network appeals to a similar older demographic as the Concert Programme that previously used the frequencies, and allows Rhema Media's flagship broadcaster New Zealand's Rhema to specialise in broadcasting a more modern mix of Christian contemporary music at a faster pace.[7] Despite AM Network being technically owned by Radio New Zealand, Southern Star broadcasts Newstalk ZB Affiliates Unit hourly news bulletins during the air time it leases.[8]

Parliament TV closes down outside non-sitting hours.

Parliament Today[edit]

Parliament Today
Language(s) English
Host(s) Tom Frewen, Rheesh Lyon
Recording studio Parliament
Air dates since 1994
Website ParliamentToday.co.nz
Podcast Audio Podcasts

The Office of the Clerk also fully funds an political reporting service, providing written, audio and video summaries from the debating chamber and committee rooms of the House of Representatives completely independently from Radio New Zealand. It is the country's only consistent source of regular reports of parliamentary proceedings, with live reports of debates and decisions in the chamber from independent press gallery journalists Tom Frewen and Rheesh Lyon. Clerk of the House David McGee established the service in 1994, after seeing the success of the BBC Radio 4 show Today in Parliament since it was started in 1945.

The service provides a series of daily and weekly audio summaries covering the most significant events and highlights from Question Time, debates and select committees, utilising audio from the AM Network for rebroadcast on other stations. These include two audio reports each sitting day, four audio summaries each sitting week and weekly summaries of select committees for broadcast on Kiwi FM, community access stations, student radio stations and other stations around the country.[9]


AM Network frequencies[edit]

Market City Transmitter Frequency (kHz)
1. Auckland Auckland Henderson 882
2. Waikato Hamilton Eureka 1494
3. Hawke's Bay Napier Opapa 909
4. Wellington Wellington Titahi Bay 657
5. Canterbury Christchurch Gebbies Pass 963
6. Dunedin Dunedin Highcliff 900
7. Southland Invercargill Dacre 1314


  1. ^ "Live Webcasts Of Parliament Begin Today". Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  2. ^ "First radio broadcast of Parliament". NZHistory.net.nz. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "New Zealand Parliament House sitting programme". New Zealand Government. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  4. ^ New Zealand Parliament - House sitting programme
  5. ^ "AM Network". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  6. ^ Southern Star
  7. ^ "About Southern Star". Sstar.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  8. ^ "Newstalk ZB Affiliates Service". Newstalk ZB. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "About -- Parliament Today". Parliament Today. Retrieved 2014-07-10.