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Maori TV But No Strategy Or Autonomy

24 July 2001

Today's announcement on a new Maori television channel is an important initiative in Maori Language Week and I am pleased the Government has built on the platform for a Maori television service developed by National, National Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today. "National supports protection and retention of the Maori language and we support this channel.

"However let's not forget the real drivers behind the channel have been Maori people over the last 20 years, leaders and elders who through sheer doggedness and commitment took matters into the courts and have held on until they are satisfied. I salute them. "We are pleased that the Te Awhiorangi, Te Reo Maori Television Trust, set up under National under a plan criticised by this Government have persevered and held their ground to get something established.

"This channel is only a start. It is unfortunate the Government did not heed Maori advice including Willie Jackson's call for a Maori broadcasting strategy.

"It is also clear that the Government does not appreciate the wish of Maori for independence and autonomy. This is in stark contrast to the National Government's plans for a service to be completely independent of the Crown.

National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said it had been a long wait for the channel after the Government's promises to launch it 18 months ago.

"Maori broadcasting has been buck-passed around Government Ministers from Marian Hobbs to Parekura Horomia and finally Helen Clark. Despite the progress today we are still concerned there is no broad framework for Maori broadcasting," Mrs Rich said.

Ends


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