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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 7. 1966.

Action on NZ papers?

Action on NZ papers?

Six remits concerning the press were examined by a committee of the Labour Party conference. In all but one the committee ''had no recommendation to make."

This Article has been obtained by Salient to remedy the failure by many New Zealand newspapers to publish either Or. Butterworth's views or the Labour Party's decisions.

The Remit calling for an investigation into the feasibility of setting up an independent council to maintain ethical standards of news dissemination was endorsed.

The convener of the Lands and Agriculture, Transport and General committee said that the remaining remits were too complicated to put into policy. He maintained the policy committee had enough to be going on with for its election programme.

Dr. Ruth Bulterworth (AU) took exception to such immobilism and succesfully moved that remits concerning the training of journalists, a national paper under a public trust, and the protection of local papers be referred to the Parliamentary party for consideration.

These remits were:

• That a National Joint Council for Training in Journalism be established comprising equal representation from Government, newspaper proprietors, and the Journalists Association.

• An investigation of the possibility of establishing a national newspaper under the form of a public trust which will lease plant and make finance available to a bona tide production company of journalists and printers.

• That where local newspapers are threatened with closure, merger or takeover against the public interest, Government shall itself takeover the assets leasing them to production companies which will have complete autonomy in the production of the papers concerned.

Deliberate block?

Dr. Butterworth alleged that newspaper proprietors and individual editors had consistently blocked efforts of the Journalists Association to institute training programmes. She pointed out that staffing is so inadequate that time off even to learn shorthand cannot be regularly and adequately given.

The proposal for a National Joint Council was a well-tried device in other countries she said. Not only were all organizations forced to participate, but by regulation and the economic logic they actually employed only those Journalists who were trained.

Referring to the local newspapers, Dr. Butterworth drew attention to the fact that the metropolitan dailies' were eating up the smaller newspapers. It was not enough to have a policy for decen-tralisation of industry, she said. Labour must see that those things that make a community tick are preserved and built up.


Dr. Butterworth's remarks on the training of journalists incurred the anger of newspaper proprietors. In a joint statement with the New Zealand Section of the Commonwealth Press Union it was claimed that for 10 years both organisations had taken part in negotiations with university authorities concerning the institution of a degree course.

Within the last month a grant had been made to the university of Canterbury to assist with the creation of a post-graduate course in journalism. Delays had not been the responsibility of organisations representing the newspaper proprietors and the senior Journalists of New Zealand.