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The Death of Independence for Maori TV

The Death of Independence for Maori TV

MANA Leader and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira
Sunday 7th September

“If what I’m hearing is true, tomorrow Maori Television Service (MTS) will dump its news programme, Te Kaea, and staff will lose their jobs” said MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira “and the Minister of Maori Affairs must stop it from happening”

Harawira was speaking to reports that tomorrow, the Chair of Maori Television, former National MP Georgina Te Heuheu, will brief the Minister of Maori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples, about a restructure that will result in up to 25 job losses.

“Will MTS’ News and Current Affairs Division lose 25 staff?”
“Will MTS’ news programme, Te Kaea, be scrapped in favour of buying in news from TVNZ?”
“Is it true that Native Affairs will be turned into a ‘magazine-style’ show?”
“Will Maori TV’s Head of the News and Current Affairs, Julian Wilcox, lose his job?”
“Why was the staff of Maori TV’s News and Current Affairs not consulted?”

Harawira said that there were serious questions that demanded immediate answers.

“Meddling with the News and Current Affairs raises serious concerns about political bias and political interference from the National Party and the Maori Party in downgrading Native Affairs and dumping Te Kaea”

“Minister Sharples was appointed by National, the Board chair, Georgina Te Heuheu, is an ex-National MP, the new CEO, Paora Maxwell, was controversially appointed by Te Heuheu, and another one of the Board members, Donna Gardiner, is the current Co Vice-President of the Maori Party”

“If there is an execution in the offing, it is the result of political interference by the National Party and the Maori Party in the one division that should be free of it - News and Current Affairs”.

Harawira said Maxwell also had a few questions to answer himself, like:
“Whose idea is it to scrap 30 jobs at the only television station with a sole focus on Maori?”
“Whose idea is it to get rid of an award-winning Maori investigative journalism show?”
“Why should Maori only have one news service while Pakeha television has three?”
“And how robust is a restructuring process where no consultation at all has taken place?”

Maxwell had the right to restructure, said Harawira, “but not two weeks out from an election, when neither the Maori stakeholders nor the staff have been consulted”

Harawira said that the Minister of Maori Affairs should stop the process dead in its tracks. “To proceed would be to confirm that National and the Maori Party had taken a conscious decision to downgrade Maori Television’s wonderful News and Current Affairs Service”


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