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Maori TV delay is Ministers' fault

Katherine Rich National Broadcasting Spokesperson

Sunday 18 February 2001

Maori TV delay is Ministers' fault

Helen Clark is rightly annoyed at the amount of time it has taken to come up with options for the Maori television channel, but there is no short cut to reaching any solutions now that there has been 14 months of dawdling from her Ministers, National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"Whipping up a bureaucratic frenzy won't work either. Television New Zealand, the Department of the Prime Minister, Treasury, the Department of Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokori can consult amongst themselves all they like but the absent, and most significant, partner to these negotiations right now is Maori.

"Who within Maoridom are all of these parties talking and negotiating with? There is now no formal representative body acting for and on behalf of Maori, bar the Maori caucus. While there has been a huge input from Maori about television in the past, there is terrific consultation fatigue. To regroup all interested parties will take some time and a lot of effort.

"However, the government must do this because if there is not buy-in from the majority of Maori it won't matter what television solution the government comes up with as it will be doomed to failure.

"It's also worth noting that the Minister of Broadcasting, Marian Hobbs, is nowhere to be seen on this major broadcasting issue. When Maori issues should be interwoven within her portfolio, she off-loaded these responsibilities last year and is strangely absent from one of the most important broadcasting issues facing this government," Katherine Rich said.

Ends

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