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Maori TV divisive, badly planned, likely to fail

Maori TV divisive, badly planned and likely to fail

United Future won't back the "divisive and badly planned" Maori Television Service Bill because it is highly likely that it would simply provide yet another failed State-funded Maori enterprise, the party's Maori affairs spokesman Murray Smith said today.

"And New Zealand can't afford another one," Mr Smith said.

There is a view among a lot of New Zealanders that State-funded Maori enterprises fail all too often. It is my fear that that concern would be realised again in this case."

Speaking at the Bill's Second Reading, Mr Smith said its aim of promoting Maori language and culture was important and worthwhile, but that it was unlikely to further those goals.

He said the Bill bore all the hallmarks of the Government's lack of vision on Maori issues: "On the one hand, they speak of unity, of Treaty reconciliation, and on the other they segregate, be it with television or separate Maori seats at local government level.

"In the end, this, as with other muddled Government initiatives, is only likely to damage Maori-Pakeha relations," he said.

Despite requests in the select committee process, no research had been forthcoming indicating any real knowledge of just how many people would watch a Maori channel, he said.

The appropriate place for Maori programmes was on regional and national mainstream channels, Mr Smith said.

An added concern was that the service itself had told the select committee that it wanted 'to remove many of the accountability requirements'.

"Clearly it is going to be difficult to get the service to meaningfully deliver on its reporting requirements," Mr Smith said.

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