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Maori TV launched - with symbolic screw up

Murray McCully MP for East Coast Bays

17 December 2003

Maori TV launched - with symbolic screw up

In the absence of an announcement from anybody else, National MP Murray McCully is pleased to officially announce that the Maori Television Service is now on air....or sort of, eighteen months after the original on-air date.

While there is no signal in the UHF mode chosen by the Government, a one hour promotional tape can be viewed on Sky Digital Channel 33.

"Because MTS still has no UHF transmission arrangements in place, the service planned to go to air in the digital mode, using TVNZ transponder space. That means it can be received only by those with digital set top boxes, mostly Sky digital customers," says Mr McCully.

"In the circumstances, MTS appears to have opted for a very quiet launch this week. The plan was to play a continuous one-hour MTS promotional tape, on Channel 33.

"True to its track record for screw-ups, MTS managed to butcher even the quiet launch," he says.

"An inability to operate the server properly meant the MTS promotional tape didn't play; instead, the movie "Babe" played - a movie for which MTS does not possess the necessary broadcast rights.

"So, the Maori Television Service - designed to promote Maori language at a cost of $55 million a year of taxpayers' money - finally got to air 18 months late, in a mode which only Sky subscribers can receive, in English, and playing a children's movie for which MTS didn't possess the necessary broadcast rights.

"The problem is now rectified, and the promotional tape is playing. But few know. So, as a service to the public, I am pleased to provide this public launch announcement," says Mr McCully.

Ends

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