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Is Marian becoming the Harpo Marx of Cabinet?

Katherine Rich

National Broadcasting Spokesperson

8 August 2000

Is Marian becoming the Harpo Marx of Cabinet?

"Getting the Broadcasting Minister to say anything publicly on broadcasting is proving extremely difficult," National's Katherine Rich said today.

"She refuses interviews (from many Press Gallery journalists, and from shows like Backch@t), is closeted away by officials and takes the backseat to the Prime Minister or others when positive announcements are made about her broadcasting portfolio.

"The Prime Minister scored points by announcing funding increases for NZ on Air. The PM also announced the establishment of the Music Industry Commission. And the official launch of NZ on Air's new music programme The Fourth Phase (which encourages Kiwi music) also fell to the Prime Minister.

"Helen Clark seems to be redefining all positive Broadcasting stories as Culture and Heritage stories. Surely she can cut her old mate Marian some slack, and let her be associated with something positive in her portfolio?

"It is ironic, and unheard of to have a Broadcast Minister who refuses to broadcast her ideas; be it on TV, radio or in personal interviews.

"A Broadcasting Minister has to be a strong advocate for her portfolio in Cabinet and in the media. Marian Hobbs just isn't fronting, and in the long run this doesn't help broadcasting hold its own beside other portfolios," Katherine Rich said.

Ends

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