National television networks decision not to screen FMG Young Farmer of the Year disappointing

Posted by Nadine Porter on 9 November 2017 | Comments

 

For the second year in a row the FMG Young Farmer of the Year will not screen on television due to a lack of interest from the two main national networks. 

TVNZ and TV3 have both declined the opportunity to screen the 50th season of the Contest despite its iconic status and continued popularity. 

Contest chairman Dean Rabbidge described the decision as disappointing. 

"Particularly when you consider that TVNZ as a state funded programmer, and the original home of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year, is charged with delivering local cultural content to New Zealanders." 

From the early 1980s the Contest has appeared on television in some form, up until last year, but has consistently been pushed into difficult time slots and now does not have a home.  

Mr Rabbidge said the Contest board was aware of shifting television priorities and the need to be more entertainment based and accordingly had approached both networks with a variety of fresh ideas to help broaden the appeal of the Contest to urban audiences. 

“However, we are not willing to jeopardise the integrity of the Contest just to make it more of a reality drama and there has been no willingness on behalf of the networks to embrace what is still the most prestigious agricultural competition in the world. It continues to be a wonderful vehicle for showcasing excellence and the talent of young farmers in this country and in our opinion is a slice of primetime television that all New Zealanders need to relate to." 

However, Mr Rabbidge praised NZ On Air for their ongoing support and encouragement with funding but said NZ Young Farmers could not afford to fund the entire production itself. 

"NZ On Air have always tried to support what we are doing but it is a great disappointment that we cannot get television networks to screen what is an extraordinary event with courageous characters that exemplify the Kiwi spirit.” 

With no presence, online or otherwise, on television Mr Rabbidge said the Contest would be forced to use social media as the main platform. 

"And while that is not the scenario we wanted in our 50th Contest season, we will move forward and embrace new technology platforms." 

NZ Young Farmers Chief Executive Officer Terry Copeland said he was saddened by the networks' decisions and believed they were missing a fantastic opportunity to profile incredible young finalists who often moved on to become New Zealand thought leaders. 

"It is particularly difficult to accept that TVNZ, who are charged with showcasing New Zealand content, no longer see value in what is still an iconic piece of our history." 

For more information please contact Nadine Porter, NZ Young Farmers Communications Manager, on 021 2140703 or email nadine.porter@youngfarmers.co.nz