May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Important Kaumatua Panui for Going Digital Targeted Assistance Package

5 min read

Who is eligible for the Targeted Assistance Package?

Those who have a TV and who do not yet have Freeview, Sky or TelstraClear, and who are either:
– aged 75 and over with a Community Services Card; or
– recipients of a Veterans Pension or Invalids Benefit; or
– former Veterans Pension and Invalids Benefit recipients who transferred to NZ Superannuation at age 65 or over.

How were the target groups chosen?

Nearly eight out of 10 New Zealand households have already gone digital. The package is carefully targeted to assist those most likely to be reliant on television and most likely to face both technical and financial barriers to go digital.

How much is the Targeted Assistance Package going to cost?

The costs will vary depending on the number of eligible people opting into the scheme and the equipment required in each case. It is expected that the total cost of delivering the package will be between $12 and $18 million over three years.

What is included in the package?

The package includes funding for:
– communicating directly with potentially eligible people
– supplying, delivering and installing a set-top box if required
– supplying, delivering and installing an aerial or satellite dish, and cabling, if required
– training viewers in how to use the new equipment
– an aftercare helpline to provide ongoing technical support for 12 months.

Where is the investment coming from?

Although the economic situation remains challenging, Ministers consider it important those who are reliant on television, and who are most likely to face technical and financial barriers to going digital have access to assistance.

Who will provide the services?

Going Digital has contracted Hills SignalMaster, an Auckland-based company owned by Hills Holdings, to manage the delivery of the services on its behalf. Local contractors will undertake the work.

How was Hills Signalmaster chosen?

Expressions of interest to deliver the package were sought from industry via the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) in August 2011. A shortlist of seven companies was invited to tender for the work, and tenders were assessed based on a combination of price and technical factors. Audit New Zealand oversaw the process.

Is there other assistance available for those who need support?

Going Digital is responsible for delivering a public information and community outreach programme. Nine Community Advisers located throughout the country are working with community groups to provide guidance and support to all New Zealanders, including those who are not eligible for the Targeted Assistance Package.

How many people do you think will benefit from the assistance?

Many households eligible for the scheme have already converted to digital, or will choose to do so without government assistance. It is difficult to predict how many eligible households will take-up the scheme, but we expect around 58,000 households will benefit from the proposed package.

What sort of assistance will those eligible receive?

Recipients will receive the supply and installation of all the necessary equipment to convert one existing television in each household, plus training in its use. The equipment will provided will include, as necessary, a set-top box, cable, and one UHF aerial or satellite dish. Wherever possible, existing antennae, satellite dishes and cabling will be used to receive the digital signal rather than installing new equipment. A new television will not be provided as part of the package, as almost any television can go digital with the right equipment. Recipients will also receive access to a technical support line for 12 months, in addition to standard warranty service.

Will eligible people get a new TV?

No. You dont need a new TV to go digital. Those taking up the targeted assistance package will receive a set top box, any necessary aerial/ satellite dish, installation and training.

Is a subsidy available for eligible people to take up a pay-TV service such as Sky, TelstraClear or Igloo?

No. The intention of the package is to ensure that eligible people continue to access the same free to air television services they have now.

If Im in the eligible group, but Ive already gone digital, can I get my money back from the government?

No. The intention of the package is to help those who genuinely cant go digital without support.

Why doesnt the Government just subsidise equipment or provide a grant?

International experience suggests that, for some groups, the technical barriers to going digital may be as significant as cost barriers. The installation, personalised training and after-installation helpline are considered important in helping these groups go digital.

What happens in other countries?

Comparable countries have offered their own targeted assistance packages. The New Zealand Targeted Assistance Package is similar to that offered by the Australian government.

What if one of my TV sets is already digital, but another isnt? Am I eligible?

No. The assistance package is only available to households that do not already have at least one working digital television connection.

What if I live in a shared household?

If people are in independent living arrangements within the same household, or, two or more households reside in one dwelling (e.g. a community house arrangement), both will be eligible for the Targeted Assistance Package.

What if I live in a rest home?

Rest home residents who meet the criteria are eligible for the Targeted Assistance Package. However, the Targeted Assistance Package will not install or upgrade shared antennae or cabling.

What if I rent my property?

The Targeted Assistance Package is available to eligible people who rent accommodation although they will need to obtain the agreement of the landlord before any new aerial or cabling is installed.

Who will administer and deliver the assistance package?

The Targeted Assistance Package will be administered and delivered by Going Digital.

How will you be able to pinpoint who is eligible for the assistance?

Eligible people will be contacted in writing and advised they may be eligible for assistance and asked to contact Going Digital to opt in, should they wish to do so.

How long are people eligible for?

Eligible households will have at least six months prior to the switchover date in their region to apply for assistance and up to three months afterwards. It is advisable for people to apply early in order to ensure that work can be completed before their region goes digital.

How will you ensure there is no abuse of the assistance package?

People who apply for the package will be asked a series of questions to check that they do not already have digital television, and to verify their identity and eligibility.

How will quality and safety be assured?

Health and safety matters, and service quality issues, are covered in the agreement between the service provider and Going Digital.


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