(As dictated to Mrs Grumble)
Looks like Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples doesn’t have Sky telly.
Alf draws this conclusion from NZ Herald news that Sharples
…has given his blessing for taxpayer funds to support a Maori Television Service bid for the 2011 Rugby World Cup’s free-to-air broadcast rights, thought to be as high as $3 million.
Given his blessing?
Who does he think he is? The bloody Pope?
And what about the political shit that’s about to hit the fan?
It is a decision that may strain coalition relations because the go-ahead was given with no reference to the Cabinet or the other minister responsible for Maori Television, Finance Minister Bill English.
But the backing of the bid by Dr Sharples’ ministry, Te Puni Kokiri, would come out of its existing funds to foster Maori development and does not need specific Cabinet approval.
Te Puni Kokiri has backed other big television events by Maori Television without controversy, including its extensive and widely acclaimed coverage of Anzac Day.
Alf didn’t have to read the rest of the Herald report to nut out that TPK’s support for the MTS bid to cover the rugby is contentious on many levels.
It is contentious among TV competitors, because it gives the Government-funded Maori channel an advantage over the other Government-owned channel, TVNZ. TV3 has also bid for the rights but it is thought the MTS bid leaves the others in the shade.
It is also highly contentious because Dr Sharples, co-leader of National’s support partner the Maori Party, did not consult senior Government colleagues about it.
So $3 million of public funds earmarked for Maori development – in Sharples’ book – can be usefully and appropriately spent on broadcasting a footy tournament.
Yet Rugby fans of all ethnic backgrounds – not just Maori – would benefit by being able to plug into Maori TV’s coverage.
This money would be squandered on something that could be provided by other TV services at a time when other Government departments are being asked to watch their spending line-by-line.
Pita plainly is becoming potty.