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Cabinet approves RWC joint bid

Hon John Key
Prime Minister

19 October 2009
Media Statement
Cabinet approves RWC joint bid
Prime Minister John Key says Cabinet today agreed to support a joint bid from the Maori Television Service, TVNZ and TV3 for free-to-air television broadcasting rights for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Cabinet also considered the level of public funding Ministers were prepared to provide to secure the rights, but noted that the exact amount will depend on whether the commercial negotiations for the rights can be successfully concluded.

“Some additional funding will be provided to Maori Television from Te Puni Kokiri baseline budgets to purchase related services and support for Maori development initiatives, should the broadcast rights bid be successful,” says Mr Key.

“As the Maori Television-led joint bid will now be submitted to the International Rugby Board for consideration, the Government cannot comment further on financial details. We do, however, envisage that specific details will be released at the appropriate time.

“I’m pleased the broadcasters have been able to work so collaboratively in recent days to finalise the bid. The outcome meets the Government’s objective – that all New Zealanders can see the main games on free-to-air television.”

All three broadcasters are happy with the agreement and are committed to providing the best service they can to contribute to a successful and enjoyable event. The negotiations with the IRB will also address issues other than free-to-air broadcasts, such as new media and related rights.

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Under the agreement, Maori Television would have rights to broadcast all 48 World Cup games, 32 by delayed telecast, and 16 live.

Of the 16 live games, the final, semi-finals, and bronze game, plus all quarter-finals, would be simulcast on Maori Television, TVNZ and TV3. The opening ceremony and game (New Zealand vs Tonga) would be shown live on TVNZ as well as Maori Television, and one pool game (New Zealand vs France) live on TV3 as well as Maori Television.

That will give TVNZ and TV3 nine games each of the main 16 matches. Maori Television would be the only broadcaster to show all 16 main games free-to-air live.

The Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, and Te Puni Kokiri, have been closely involved in the negotiations for the joint bid.

Dr Sharples says: “I’m delighted with Cabinet’s decision for Maori Television to be the lead broadcaster – it presents a great opportunity for the nation to showcase a part of this country’s culture that the world is unfamiliar with.”

“The bid provides a terrific space for TVNZ, TV3 and Maori Television to work together for the first time, for the benefit of the whole country. I’m confident that the Maori Television-led broadcasts will deliver to all New Zealanders at a standard we will all be proud of.

“I’m pleased Cabinet has agreed to allow Maori Television to broadcast a comprehensive platform with a mixture of shared and exclusive broadcasts,” says Dr Sharples.

The agreement between the broadcasters includes establishing a small governance group to oversee the project. It will comprise board members from each of the parent boards of the broadcasting companies, and two Ministerial appointments.

The group will be chaired by Wayne Walden, a member of the Maori Television Board. In addition, the broadcasters have advised that Rick Friesen, Executive Director of the Television Broadcasters’ Council, will be the lead manager for the project.

Mr Friesen will lead a team from all the companies to deliver the services, with input from the RNZ 2011 Office led by Martin Snedden, and the Ministry of Economic Development.


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