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New Maori TV Service An Exciting New Era

New Maori TV Service An Exciting New Era In NZ Broadcasting

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said today that the establishment of a Maori Television Service ushers in an exciting new era in broadcasting which will help to enrich New Zealand's society, culture and heritage.

The government announced today that a Maori television service will be on air from June 2002. The new service will broadcast in Maori and English.

Helen Clark said the previous government gave undertakings in the Broadcasting Assets case in 1991 to provide for Maori television.

"This government also accepts the obligation to promote Maori language and culture through the medium of television.

"The new service will enable Maori perspectives, heritage, culture and languages to be presented on television, and in so doing will play a vital role in Maori economic, social, and cultural development."

"The Maori television service will be established as a statutory corporation with its own legislation to be introduced into Parliament this year. The structure ensures that the service is transparent and accountable. It is important that it is set up to succeed, not to fail as Aotearoa Television was.

"There will be seven directors on the Maori television service board. Three will be appointed by the Crown and four by an electoral college, comprised of representatives from Maori organisations. This is a Maori-Crown partnership and initiative," Helen Clark said.

Parekura Horomia said today's announcement is proof of the Crown's commitment to accelerating Maori economic, social and cultural development.

"Maori can and want to participate in New Zealand society and the government is keen to facilitate this across the board. Building capacity is part of it. Improving government service delivery is another. The proposed Maori television service is another tangible step to the goal."

Mr Horomia said when the service goes on air from the middle of next year, it will screen a mixture of original programming and archival material. At the proposed funding levels the service can be expected to be able to broadcast about two hours of original programming a day. This will build to three hours by the third year of operation.

"The service will also have the right to screen other Maori programming funded by the public purse.

"It is projected that funding for Maori programming will need to be increased above current levels by up to $7.3 million in 2002/03, $14.6 million in 2003/04, and about $21.9 million in 2004/05 and the years beyond this.

"This would mean that the total funding dedicated to Maori television programming would be:

2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05
Maori television programmes $29.9m $34.291m $41.683m $49.074m
MTV operations and transmission $3.863m $6m $6m $6m
Total Maori television $33.763m $40.291m $47.683m $55.074m

"Both New Zealand On Air and Te Mangai Paho currently fund Maori television programmes. Most of that funding will be available to the new Maori television service, with TVNZ retaining funding for its current in-house production of Maori programmes," Mr Horomia said.

Approximately 70 per cent of New Zealand households should be able to receive the channel on UHF frequencies. The channel could also be simulcast on a digital satellite service.

The Ministers paid tribute to the many people involved in helping to establish the new television service.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of the work of many people passionate about Maori television and Maori development. Many people can take credit for it including Te Awhiorangi television trust. This step will enable all New Zealanders to enjoy more Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori on their screens.

"It is also appropriate that we should make this announcement during Maori Language Week," Helen Clark and Mr Horomia said.


Ends

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