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Government has eyes wide shut

Broadcasting Spokesperson

9 February 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Government has eyes wide shut

National is continuing to distance itself from a party official’s involvement in programmes with political implications, despite admitting that the Broadcasting Minister is in fact accountable for the inappropriate behaviour of NZ on Air board members, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran says.

“Today, acting Broadcasting Minister Tony Ryall again took the flak for new Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, answering questions for him in the House.

“This signals that the Government is concerned about the growing scandal within NZ on Air. Mr Ryall confirmed under questioning that it was ultimately the Minister’s responsibility to determine that the board acts appropriately,” Clare Curran said.

“However he continued to deny any knowledge of the content of the four documentaries being funded by taxpayers to the tune of more than $1 million, one of which is about the government’s controversial Whanau Ora programme.

“Mr Ryall also denied knowledge of the subject and title of the fourth documentary, something which was blacked out in papers released under the Official Information Act yesterday. I would be interested to know what that programme is about. Does it also promote the Government’s agenda?

“This Government continues to turn a blind eye to the situation that Stephen McElrea, the NZ on Air Board deputy chair and John Key’s electorate chair, has found himself in. This is a man who is deeply involved in operational decisions around taxpayer funded programmes.

“There is no question that not only is Mr McElrea’s appointment political, but so too are his actions. National cannot close ranks over this issue and get away with it,” Clare Curran said.


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