Radio NZ can count on Alf raising a fuss at the next National caucus meeting about a serious misuse of the public money we dish out to the state-owned broadcaster.
He will be doing this having been dismayed this morning to find his Sunday morning session of hymn singing no longer is being broadcast – not from the National station, anyway.
Some tosser has decided hymns are more appropriate fare for Concert programme listeners than for National programme listeners.
Alf has no beef with Radio New Zealand Concert, which (in 2011, anyway) has an average weekly audience of just over 140,000.
But the decision to treat hymns as Concert programme fare removes the last programme pitched at Christians from the Radio New Zealand National schedule.
Dammit, the hymns were all we had left after the broadcasting of church services was halted and the religious programme around 5pm each Sunday became a potpourri of spiritual pap for people of all faiths.
At the same time they keep lifting their quota of programmes for Maori and their Pakeha presenters are obviously under instructions to ensure they spice what they tell us with a a few mouthfuls of te reo, even though the great majority of listeners – including Maori ones – haven’t a clue what they are saying.
True, the numbers of Christians – or people who declare themselves to be Christians on census forms – is declining.
There were 1,933,851 of us at the 2013 census, down from 2,027,418 in 2006.
But that happens to be 49.1% of the population.
Maori – or people who declare themselves to be Maori – comprise a significantly smaller portion of the population.
There were 598,605 people of Māori ethnicity living in New Zealand on census night in 2013, which is 33,276 (5.9 percent) more than at the 2006 Census. By comparison, the total New Zealand population grew 5.3 percent (214,101 people).
“One in seven people usually living in New Zealand in 2013 belong to the Māori ethnic group,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.
One in seven roughly works out at 15%.
And how many of them will know what Radio NZ is telling them when its presenters demonstrate their te reo skills?
Just over 1 in 5 Māori can now hold a conversation about a lot of everyday things in te reo Māori, a decrease of 4.8 percent from 2006.
Perhaps Radio NZ should consider communicating with us in Asian languages, because Massey University pro vice-chancellor Professor Paul Spoonley has observed that the Asian population of 471,711 had grown from 6.6% of the population in 2001 to 11.8%.
By the 2020s, the number of Asians in New Zealand will be larger than Maori, he said.
So if it’s a numbers game, Radio NZ has got things very wrong by consigning hymn singing to the Concert programme and ignoring trends with Asians.
On the other hand, Radio NZ is smart to recognise that Maori are special by virtue of being indigenous and should be given special treatment in programming accordingly.