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Labour appoints another ally to the BSA

Katherine Rich

National Broadcasting Spokesperson

5th December 2002

Labour appoints another ally to the BSA

Thanks to the Minister's appointment of Tapu Misa the Broadcasting Standards Authority now has no credibility with the industry, says Katherine Rich, National Party spokeswoman for Broadcasting.

"Steve Maharey could have used this appointment to address the broadcasting industry's concern that it did not have adequate representation on the Authority.

"Broadcasters have been waiting nearly 3 years since the retirement of Joan Withers for someone they can point to as their industry representative - someone who understands personally the nature of the broadcasting business.

"Ms Misa's recent column criticising Paul Holmes' reports on the taniwha and wahi tapu stories should give broadcasters an indication of her views.

"The Minister feebly promises that the next person he appoints will be someone recommended from the industry. Why not now? Mr Maharey is giving the distinct impression that he has one last Party-friendly person to place before he can honour his commitment to the sector.

"The public perception that the BSA is a full house of Labour Party friends is serious. In particular, it sabotages the evaluation process of the Prime Minister's complaint.

"Regardless of how strongly the present members profess their objectivity, the perception is quite clearly is that they are political appointments.

"Take Corngate - if the BSA comes down hard on the Broadcaster after evaluating the Prime Minister's complaint, there will always be doubts about the decision. The present members should step aside for the hearing of the Prime Minister's complaint and an independent commissioner could be considered for this and other Labour Party initiated complaints," said Ms Rich.


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