Māori TV news should stay

The chair of the Māori Affairs Select Committee says Māori Television must continue to have its own news service.

Rino Tirikatene says it’s concerning to hear funding for Māori news may be given to only one broadcaster in future.

“It is a concern.  I believe Māori Television occupies a special place and we need to ensure that it’s given due recognition and it should not be treated as any other typical competitive entity.  It’s established for a reason and it needs to have the surety and the certainty that it can continue on to do those good works and that’s what we can do as a committee,” he says.

The Māori Affairs Select Committee was visiting both Māori Television and TVNZ today as part of its end of year review. 

It’s the first time the committee has met with broadcasters outside of parliament.

“We represent all the major parties in parliament.  We put our Māori interests first and we definitely want to see that we do the most we can to ensure that we can strengthen all of the mahi of Whakaata Māori,” says Tirikatene.

Government agency Te Māngai Pāho funds multiple Māori news and current affairs programmes but wants to streamline into a single Māori news service provider.

But Tirikatene says Māori Television is a taonga of New Zealand which needs to be valued more.  The committee would encourage further support for Māori Television content and its news service.

“It’s all about our reo, projecting our culture and definitely keeping our people informed.  We need to ensure that there is enough funding so that we can continue those good works across media, content right across the board,” he says.