Following the 1989 Broadcasting Act, New Zealand was regarded as indicating the consequences likely to flow from substantial deregulation of broadcasting. Now it is providing a case study of government attempts to renew intervention in broadcasting markets for social and cultural purposes. Since 1999 the government has been seeking to address the legacy of the 1989 broadcasting reforms – low levels of quality New Zealand programming and a highly commercialised publicly owned broadcaster. This paper traces these developments which to date have had mixed outcomes. It discusses the broadcasting landscape in New Zealand, the deficiencies the government is seeking to address, and progress to date with reform. The paper highlights the continuing relevance of social and cultural objectives for broadcasting in the emerging digital environment.