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Urgent Inquiry Needed Into Maori TV Contracts

Tuesday 7 May 2002

ACT leader Richard Prebble says he is concerned to learn that multi-million dollar contracts for Maori Television have been awarded without competitive tendering.

"I have written to the chairman of the Maori Affairs Select Committee, asking that the committee set up an inquiry as a matter of urgency," Mr Prebble said.

"I understand that the contract to equip the Maori Television studios has been given to Sony without other firms being able to quote. Sony's contract is believed to be worth $5 million and I understand this price is up to $2.5 million above what would have been achieved with a tender process.

"I have been in contact with another firm, Panasonic, which won contracts to equip Horizon TV and Prime TV, against Sony. Panasonic has not been approached, directly or indirectly, to quote for Maori TV.

"I would have thought this would be automatic, to ensure the best value for the taxpayer is realised.

"I understand that a member of the Maori Television board is employed by Sony. In these circumstances, one would have expected the board to be extra careful to ensure Sony was not given favourable treatment.

"I don't want to be accused of Maori bashing, that's why I'm sending this matter to the Maori Affairs Select Committee, and I think the committee should look into it urgently," Mr Prebble said.


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