‘Every little bit counts' is Village Radio's response to the news of a reduction in radio spectrum fees.
Under the changes, the average annual licence fee will reduce from about $200 to $150, while the fees regime will now be simpler by reducing the number of fee categories from 47 to four.
Communications Minister Simon Bridges says the new regime, which comes into effect later this year, is much fairer and simpler.
“Since the last fees review was undertaken, radio spectrum management costs have declined due to a move to online systems and a strong focus on efficiency and cost control. We're now passing those benefits on to licence holders.
“The reduction in licence fees will also help reduce the current surplus in the radio spectrum management account, before fees are reviewed again in three years' time.
“This reflects the need to remain flexible in how we manage the radio spectrum, given the changing nature of the telecommunications environment. The primary objective is to ensure the regime continues to be equitable and fit for purpose.”
Village Radio chairman Steve Lambie says although the fee reduction is small, every little bit counts when you run on the smell of an oily rag.
“50 dollars is a lot when you get nothing. It will definitely help us out – a couple of extra sausage sizzles we won't have to do.”
It's just one of the costs Village Radio has to budget for. The station, which operates out of the Historic Village, is run entirely by volunteers.
“We do go for grants through pub charities, and we've had a couple of those in the last few years. Otherwise all our money comes from fundraising and the Friends of Village Radio. Unfortunately there's a small pot now, and a lot of people going for grants,” says Steve.
Amateur radio licences will continue to have their own fee category, with annual fees set at $50, consistent with the current regime.