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Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Contract

Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Production Contract

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

26 November 2014

Television New Zealand (TVNZ) recently announced that internal production of its iconic Māori programmes ‘Waka Huia’ and ‘Marae Investigates’ would cease and that it would outsource the production of these programmes for the duration of its contractual terms with funding body Te Māngai Pāho (TMP).

Despite commitments made by TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick at the recent Ngā Aho Whakaari conference on November 7th to look after existing Māori staff and outsource production to Māori-owned companies, the proposed shakeup still negatively impacts on the staff of TVNZ’s Maori Department.

“With change comes opportunity,” added Kim Muriwai, Deputy Chair and spokesperson for Ngā Aho Whakaari, “but the unseemly haste of the process and deadline this Friday is actually counter-productive to the seamless transition and quality programming they are wanting. Despite TVNZ stating that current staff are welcome to apply to produce these programmes, it places unrealistic demands on those dedicated Māori production staff who have loyally and proudly served in the Māori Department of TVNZ.

While Ngā Aho Whakaari welcomes and supports opportunities for the Māori production sector, this development is only a re-distribution of funding and employment. In the first instance we would like an extension to this Friday’s deadline”.

Ngā Aho Whakaari also has concerns about this decision and seeks transparency around this funding and process. The Board of Te Māngai Pāho is responsible for Māori broadcasting funding, however it appears to have reneged on its responsibility and is allowing TVNZ to call all the shots. Ngā Aho Whakaari is questioning this situation whereby TVNZ is being supported by Te Māngai Pāho to sub-contract out its programme contracts and create unrealistic timelines that cannot possibly produce well-researched, quality programming.

“We are under no illusions that TVNZ’s decisions are based solely on economic expediency,” said Muriwai. “It is disappointing however to see Māori broadcasting funding body Te Māngai Pāho being complicit in setting unrealistic timelines where Māori production companies are once again placed on the back foot and are likely to fail.”

ENDS

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