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Maori Party Challenges TVNZ to Stick to Charter

Hone Harawira, Maori Party Spokesperson on Broadcasting
Wednesday 14 December 2005

"They can stab each other to death if they want to, as long as it doesn't impact on Maori programming," said Hone Harawira, Maori party spokesman on Broadcasting, after the messy disclosures during the TVNZ inquiry at Parliament yesterday.

"And I remind them that regardless of the bloodletting, TVNZ has an obligation to "ensure in its programmes and programme planning the participation of Maori and the presence of a significant Maori voice".

"Today's revelations were a bit like that old KFC ad, 'so Hugo says you go, and I say no you go" said Mr Harawira.

"But I was impressed with the sincerity of Ian Fraser's presentation, and I note that the Chairman of the TVNZ Board, Craig Boyce, had no disagreement with what his ex-CEO had to say.

"Starting with the heavy-handed interference from the Prime Minister, Ian Fraser spoke of the year from hell, ending with his being constantly bombarded with innuendo about his incompetence, and the lack of trust in his management".

"That ‘climate of distrust’ was a major factor in his stepping down as CEO for TVNZ, although he also made pointed reference to how TVNZ was cutting back on its charter obligations in the pursuit of commercial revenue".

"And that's why I am concerned - because the first charter programmes to get the chop if TVNZ doesn't get money from the government, will be Maori programming".

"But today's inquiry also showed clearly that no-one at TVNZ has a good idea about how to run a 'dual mandate' broadcaster effectively. The shock resignation of Ann Hercus from the Board, and the disclosures by Ian Fraser about 'bitch sessions' and 'de-stabilising' media leaks, is a clear indication that the TVNZ Board and management needs some serious refurbishing.

"And one of the things I have learnt in more than fifteen years of broadcasting is that there is no-one who knows 'dual mandate' broadcasting quite like Maori radio broadcasters. For twenty years now, they have had to cope with charter requirements and the need to develop commercial revenue streams to supplement their meagre funding from Te Mangai Paho. All of them have survived, and some have done exceptionally well".

“I would have no problem recommending people like Graham Pryor of Mai FM and Te Maumako August of Moana Communications as successful 'dual mandate' broadcasters of a quality that TVNZ is crying out for at the moment".
"In a climate of chaos and mistrust, I think the Minister could do a lot worse than appoint people with the years of successful management in broadcasting that both Graham and Te Maumako have”.

ENDS

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