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No media ban at hui? Yeah Right!

Katherine Rich MP National Party Broadcasting Spokeswoman

11 September 2003

No media ban at hui? Yeah Right!

National Party Broadcasting spokeswoman Katherine Rich says Parekura Horomia should apologise for misleading comments surrounding media bans at the taxpayer-sponsored hui on the foreshore and seabed.

"Yesterday I asked the Minister 'what role if any, has Te Puni Kokiri had in banning media from recording seabed and foreshore consultation hui?'

"He claimed 'Te Puni Kokiri has had no role in banning the media from recording seabed and foreshore consultation hui.'

"That reply was dubious yesterday when we already had a media advisory issued by TPK outlining details of the media ban at a previous hui," says Mrs Rich.

"But TPK has now issued yet another media advisory explaining details of the ban and how it will apply at today's hui.

"TPK claims the wishes of the marae 'are communicated by Te Puni Kokiri as part of the Ministry's facilitation role'.

"In other words Mr Horomia should be up-front and admit that TPK and the Ministry are acting as messengers," says Mrs Rich.

"It's entirely inappropriate for a Government agency like TPK to be acting as a watch-dog to help keep the media from fully reporting meetings that the taxpayer is funding.

"All New Zealanders should be given the opportunity to make up their own minds about what's being said at these hui, without carefully orchestrated censorship getting in the way," Mrs Rich says.

"The Government has spent more time making sure it looks good, than on putting together a foreshore and seabed proposal that mainstream New Zealanders support.

"Labour has spent more time sympathising with the views of activists, than seeking the genuine opinions of the silent majority," says Mrs Rich.

"Given that a Government Department is actively involved in keeping the media out of these hui, we can only assume Labour wants to stop New Zealanders learning about the scale of its looming back-down.

"The National Party believes in one standard of citizenship - it applies to the law and it applies to media coverage of important nation-defining issues," Mrs Rich says.

Ends


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