That rugby bid

Central Leader - - News -

Maori TV chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim Mather should be con­grat­u­lated for his bid to se­cure Rugby World Cup broad­cast­ing rights for the chan­nel.

There were howls of out­rage from TVNZ and TV3, com­plain­ing Maori TV should not be in­volved.

That left me with the feel­ing th­ese net­works felt the ‘hories’ had no right to be com­mer­cially savvy and should con­cen­trate on speak­ing Maori and do­ing the haka.

Labour’s Rugby World Cup spokesman Trevor Mal­lard said since Maori TV was tax­payer-funded the bid was “plain stupid”, set­ting a prece­dent for in­co­her­ent and un­be­liev­able pol­icy.

As far as be­ing plain stupid, the for­mer min­is­ter of broad­cast­ing wins that award hands down.

His claim that Maori TV has the temer­ity to bid for the cup when it is funded by the tax­payer de­fies be­lief. He over­saw TVNZ and Na­tional Ra­dio – both of which have re­ceived gen­er­a­tions of tax­payer fund­ing.

As far as set­ting a poor prece­dent is con­cerned, Mal­lard wins that award too. In the mid-1990s he launched one of the worst Maori-bash­ing cam­paigns in po­lit­i­cal his­tory – once again, against Maori TV, and his vil­i­fi­ca­tion of for­mer chief Tuku Mor­gan should not be for­got­ten.

Those at­tacks are a re­minder – as are the cur­rent ones – that when Labour is not in gov­ern­ment, its MPs spew the same racism they ac­cuse Na­tional of.

Mather should be ap­plauded. He and Maori TV have shown they can cover ma­jor events. They’ve suc­cess­fully cov­ered Wai­tangi and An­zac days, the Break­ers, and all with the pre­dom­i­nant com­men­tary in English, with a sprin­kling of te reo. The world cup would be no dif­fer­ent. It will give Maori TV an op­por­tu­nity to pa­rade Maori lan­guage on a world stage. A few words of te reo Maori won’t af­fect any re­sults, but will serve as a re­minder that Maori cul­ture has a spe­cial place in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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