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Mythical Maori Television set to become Taniwha TV

Katherine Rich MP National Broadcasting Spokesman

20 December 2002

Mythical Maori Television set to become Taniwha TV

"Commentators have hit the spot in dubbing Maori Television 'Taniwha television' because few people believe in it and we're never likely to see it," according to the National Party's Broadcasting spokeswoman.

"A Government decision that would force Maori TV to use state-owned BCL's out-dated UHF frequencies consigns the channel to a broadcasting backwater," says Katherine Rich.

"These days a number of homes just have Sky digital. Few are going to invest big money to buy a new aerial or have their TV's professionally tuned just to receive Maori Television for a few hours a day.

"But the story gets worse, now we discover that programmes like Coronation Street or a Sky movie could be interrupted by Maori television because of a frequency overload.

"The Government needs to fess up and admit this project's been an abject disaster," Katherine Rich says.

"Maori Television needs to be put out of its misery before more taxpayers' money is wasted.

"Three years work, more than $50 million down the television tubes and there's not even a test pattern to show for it!

"Maori Television's been peppered with controversy, first came John Davy's plans for swanky offices with Americas Cup views, then the John Davy fiasco itself.

"There've been problems with the tendering process and now this decision dooms the channel to failure," she says.

"Producers and broadcasters have already shown Maori programming's place is on mainstream television not an obscure channel that no one will watch.

"TV 3's successful Mataku series proves Maori programming can be mainstreamed in prime time

"In the meantime other established channels should be screening programmes already funded by Te Mangai Paho, because it's now clear MTV won't be doing it for a long time yet - if at all," Katherine Rich says.


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