The New Zealand government has allocated an extra NZ$17.8 million ($12.6 million) over the next four years to its radio and television funding agency, NZ On Air.

The New Zealand government has allocated an extra NZ$17.8 million ($12.6 million) over the next four years to its radio and television funding agency, NZ On Air.

The funding package, announced today (May 19) as part of the national 2005/06 budget, comes into effect from July 1. A share of the money will be used to improve the facilities for government-owned network Radio New Zealand and provide audio-on-demand through its www.radionz.co.nz Web site.

The funding boost comes almost a month after the government pledged additional funds of NZ$5.4 million ($3.8 million) for strategies to support New Zealand music exports. These funds will hep cover grants for artists and managers' networking travel costs. About NZ$2 million ($1.4 million) has been set aside to fund music industry think-tank the NZ Music Industry Commission.

Economic development minister Jim Anderton said that the government had taken on many recommendations from the music industry on how to expand the sector.

The NZ government has spent NZ$75 million ($53.4 million) on the contemporary music sector since 2002.