That rugby bid
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.