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Mäori Funding Agency Stands Behind Funding Decisio

Mäori broadcasting funding agency Chairman Toby Curtis has hit out over criticism of the agency saying that his board stands by the processes it uses to reach its decisions.

His comments follow intense media interest in former MP Tukoroirangi Morgan being awarded funding by Te Mängai Päho to produce a Mäori language television series.

Toby Curtis says the board is extremely proud of the role it plays in promoting Mäori language and culture and it is disappointing that the real issues are being lost.

“It is important to remember that Te Mängai Päho’s job is to get Mäori language on the airwaves.”

He says that the board fully understands that its decisions need to stand up to any scrutiny.

“We are guardians of taxpayer’s dollars and like any Government agency we have an obligation to make sure that every cent that is spent is spent wisely.

“The process could not be clearer. People have every right to put forward their proposals and these are all then assessed against clear criteria. The board wants to make sure that successful applications are desirable, credible, affordable, and all projects add value.”

Meanwhile Chief Executive Trevor Moeke confirmed that the agency has asked Audit New Zealand to look at the processes surrounding funding decisions. It is normal practice for the agency to ask the Government auditors to check out contracts.

Trevor Moeke says he has every confidence that the findings of the office will support earlier routine audits, which showed the agency had excellent and robust systems.

“We have every confidence in the way we make decisions and the fairness surrounding them. However recent publicity makes it clear that we should be helping putting the public’s mind at rest to ensure them that we are accountable for every cent we spend.”

He says that all proposals, including Mr Morgan’s, are assessed by an independent agency, management, board members and language experts. All successful applicants must produce milestone reports before payments are made, which are carefully assessed, and all money spent must be accounted for.

[ends]

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