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Maori TV bid a golden opportunity for Maori

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs

5 October 2009
Media Release

Maori TV bid a golden opportunity for Maori

The MTS bid for Rugby World Cup broadcast rights is a golden opportunity for Maori and the nation, which MTS and Te Puni Kokiri are right to seize, says Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

“The bid creates a unique platform to promote Maori development for the benefit of the whole country,” said Dr Sharples. “Labour has attacked the government, but their claims are incorrect.”

“When MTS lodged a bid, there were no other live bids on the table, so any suggestion it was in competition with other broadcasters is not true. TVNZ’s bid, and TV3’s, had already been rejected by the IRB.

“On the other hand, Maori TV has said they are very willing to sub-licence broadcast rights, assuming the IRB allows this. Those matters are for the Board of MTS to decide, not me,” he said.

“My focus is on how Te Puni Kokiri’s support might achieve outcomes I am responsible for. This bid creates huge opportunities to promote and profile Maori businesses across the spectrum, for example, and new jobs will be created. My Economic Development Task Force is certainly interested.

“I would also love to see iwi radio stations broadcasting games live on their networks, and all New Zealanders getting help and encouragement to use Maori words and phrases in everyday conversation. The potential returns on this investment are enormous, not just during the month of the Rugby World Cup, but right from the day that MTS secures the bid, into the future,” he said.

“MTS are well placed to deliver. They already have 90% coverage of the country, and with the projected uptake of Freeview in the next two years, plus MTS’s offer to sub-licence, coverage will not be an issue. MTS also has available time to extend their broadcast hours, and a track record of innovative event programming and strong sports coverage.

“It’s a pity the bid has attracted controversy, but I am well prepared to discuss the merits of the case with the Prime Minister and other stakeholders,” said Dr Sharples.


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