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All eyes on Hobbs' handling of youth radio

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokesperson

28 January 2001

All eyes on Hobbs' handling of youth radio

The way Marian Hobbs handles the imminent Cabinet battle over the proposed youth radio network will be her first real test as Broadcasting Minister, National Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"The issue here is not whether a youth radio network is right or wrong. The issue is that Hobbs should stand up for what she really believes and not be bullied into a less than satisfactory proposal by the likes of Trevor Mallard and Laila Harre.

"While Mallard and Harre are chomping at the bit to get this Labour and Alliance election promise implemented, it's Hobbs whose done the homework, talked to industry players, and is the only Minister with the knowledge to decide whether the youth radio network is a gem or a dog.

"Given Hobbs' recent comments and discussions I suspect instinct tells her that if this policy is implemented as it is, it probably won't deliver the policy's original objectives.

"Hobbs knows young New Zealanders already have wide access to an ample selection of station options, and she also knows that a Radio New Zealand-style youth station would be unlikely to succeed.

"After her bumbling performance last year, Marian Hobbs will be desperately keen to win any forthcoming battles over the issue of youth radio. This will be her make or break moment.

"If Hobbs buckles under the pressure of Mallard and Harre it will be clear to all New Zealanders that she is merely a 'yes' Minister, not a warrior that the broadcasting portfolio really needs," Katherine Rich said.


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