According to Maori radio presenter Dale Husband it'll be great if Maori Television gets the free to air rights to the World Cup Rugby rights because it'll mean that Maori TV will be right up there, competing with the big boys. Yes, we can be big fat media capitalists too!

And I thought Maori Television was a small public broadcaster with largely non-commercial objectives, namely promoting Maori culture and language. When did its public service mandate transform into a desire to be a major commercial operator?

To compete with the big boys the Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has given his blessing for Te Puni Kokiri to sink up to $3 million into Maori Television to support its bid for the free-to-air rights to broadcast the Cup.

For a station that only transmits to 86 percent of all households, the Maori party and its allies in the Maori media had to put up a convincing case on why spending millions on rugby broadcasting rights would be just fantastic for ordinary Maori, many of them at the sharp end of the neoliberal economic policies that Sharples and the Maori party support.

They haven't done that. I've heard Sharples waffle vaguely about the 'benefits' for the country and for 'Maori business' but he sounded like a Minister who hadn't done his homework before jumping into this particular media maul, boots and all.

Sharples didn't even bother to consult Prime Minister Key or the cabinet before approving this bid. This is extraordinary. Where was Jonathan Coleman, the Minister of Broadcasting, while Sharples was talking with the executives at Maori TV? How come he wasn't in the loop? Is being a Maori Party MP mean you have a licence to be a loose cannon?

And why hasn't John Key stepped into prevent public money being spent on this misconceived bid? Perhaps he's hoping that his public disapproval will be enough to kneecap the bid. Even so Key looks like a leader allowing the tail to wag the dog. And, to use Bill English's phrase, that's 'not a good look'.

If Maori TV wants to take on the big media players then it should use its own money. Its just unacceptable that public money should be used to secure a commercial event, especially when that money could be used to benefit ordinary Maori in more direct and immediate ways. Its a shame, that despite appearances to the contrary, Maori TV just wants to ape the Sky TVs of this world.

Breakfast TV is often the place to be when you want to see really bad/stupid/offensive television. Many of those moments have involved TV1's Paul Henry but, this time, its the other lot on TV3's Sunrise.

A large chunk of the show which I saw today was used to promote an inane contest where competitors have to keep their hands stuck on a Suzuki car and the last man/woman standing wins the car.

This is happening in five Suzuki dealerships throughout out the country with twenty 'lucky Kiwis' participating at each location.

This competition is of such staggering news significance that we were 'treated' to countless and extensive 'reports' from the various venues. Sunrise co-host Carly Flynn - out on location somewhere - was all excited and bubbly about the stupid competition but her colleague Oliver Driver - hiding away in the studio - looked less than happy with the whole affair. He looked uncomfortable and faintly embarrassed. Perhaps he was under the impression he was supposed to be co-hosting a proper news show but had wandered on to the set of Deal Or No Deal? by mistake.

The most pathetic moment - and there were a lot of them - was when Driver had to cut off political commentator Linda Clark mid-sentence in order to, yes, go to yet another hot report from the competition where nothing new had happened since the last report but we were informed, yet again, that the 'fantastic competitors' were all competing for a Suzuki car. Did you get that? A SUZUKI car!


Post a Comment

Comments are moderated.