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Agendas threaten integrity of Māori Television

Shane Jones
Māori Affairs Spokesperson

26 March 2014

Agendas threaten integrity of Māori Television

The eve of its 10th anniversary is the perfect time for all concerned to query what state Māori Television is in, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Shane Jones says.

“The board must front up and stop becoming the courier for the government, given reports it wants to ‘water-down’ the current affairs show, Native Affairs.

“Māori TV is state funded, yet with the exception of shows such as Native Affairs it has tiny ratings.

“Admittedly other TV channels have glossier productions - Game of Thrones for instance - but that won’t work for Māori TV which already has a dragon on its board.

“Georgina Te Heu Heu has meddled in the appointments process for the CEO, and that’s something that suits the National government.

“Māori TV can, and should, be a nursery for talent. Such personnel could then ply their skills in other areas of the media to comprehensively improve the coverage of Māori issues.

“The Kōhanga reo saga shows that effective Māori journalism can bring accountability. It is ridiculous to attack Native Affairs for the woes in the kōhanga and it is alarming to hear that the Māori TV board have been leaned on to ‘rein’ in the investigative work of that programme.

“Perhaps that is the reason why the CEO appointment process has been dogged by controversy.

“That fake process has occurred with the implicit endorsement of various negligent Ministers. One is the out of touch and out of the country Minister of Māori Affairs, Pita Sharples. The other, Minister of Finance Bill English, may be out of the loop because he doesn’t appear to be on the kumara vine, though to be fair to Mr English he wouldn’t know a Te Kaea from a Kai Time.”

Māori Television celebrates 10 years on Friday.

ENDS

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