Tuesday, 6 October 2009


We have been watching the debacle around the Maori TV rugby world cup bid with interest. If you tickle the underbelly of New Zealand you get fleas. There is a raw racism in New Zealand that knows no bounds. It is like the country is treating the very smart, business like bid of Maori TV, as the actions, as someone suggested this evening, of some " uppity niggers. "

Sad really - there are facts that many New Zealanders would do well to remember.

One of the arguments getting a fair bit of currency is that if the bid does go to MTV then not everyone will get to see it.

Errrr - that''s pretty much the case for all the networks.

Maori Television’s UHF free to air network does not have full nationwide coverage. But, neither does ONE, TV2 or 3 and certainly not C4. To be really picky not even SKY or Freeview satellite gets absolutely everywhere. But, the issues MTS supposedly has are not insurmountable.

Does anyone remember the fuss when TV3 was awarded the broadcast rights for the new millennium celebrations with the focus being on Gisborne and Mt Hikurangi..... the first places in the world (Chathams aside) to see the first rays of the new dawn. No! TV3 didn’t broadcast North of Gisborne so the locals couldn’t see what was happening on there on mountain.

Does anyone remember the fuss when MTS was about to go to air and opponents promulgated the rumour that it would bugger up SKY TV. That’s because SKY’s set-top decoders tuned into people’s tellies on the same channel (UHF frequency) that had long before been set aside for a Maori television service. SKY didn’t broadcast on that frequency, just used it as the channel to get from the set top box to the TV.

SKY had no licence to use that channel, they had sought no approval. They had no legal right to use it. But, they wailed and shrieked that Maori TV going to air would mean the kiwis wouldn’t be able to watch the All Blacks. It was crass and it was highly cynical. Nah it worse than that - it was pure and utter self serving anti competitive bullshit.

The public outcry (totally engineered by SKY) and political fallout meant MTS were effective forced to negotiate a compromise arrangement with SKY. Hence MTS went to air on UHF free to air platform and, surprise, surprise SKY Digital. And SKY gave MTS a "discount" for getting its own way.

We note that SKY is not yelling from the rooftops about this just at this very moment - we wonder why - maybe they're hoping that people have short memories.

TVNZ, Canwest, MTS & begrudgingly SKY via Prime are all on Freeview. Let’s not forget that the original switch off date for our current analogue free to air television as going to be 2011!!! Yes, bugger us that's RWC year! Fancy that....

This switch over to digital telly only has been delayed a year or two. But, it still means that the current "free to air " TV transmission will be switched off and consigned to the ether – possibly within months of the RWC. So anyone who hasn’t got a TV with an inbuilt Freeview tuner or a Freeview set top box by the RWC is going to need one pretty soon after.

And lets not forget that the $3M that everybody is jumping up and down about won’t be spent unless the bid is accepted. Yip its a bid. and fuck us its a cunninger than a shithouse rat - bid.

It's audacious, ballsy, and shit it makes good business and social sense. It could engender such a sense of pride in Maori, who love the channel, that we reckon we may see a shift in Maori behaviour. The sort of change that leads to better lifestyles. Imagine if the ads interspersed in the games are anti smoking, anti drinking and aspirational - the payback for the $3mil spend could be huge.

And please ------ lets get over the fact that MTV got a bit of start up money -yip it did . and within a decade it will probably be self sustaining and remember TV1 and Tv2 were heavily subsidised to start with as well.

You can argue that this bid , if successful could be viewed as taxpayers dollars supporting a commercial enterprise. Yip thats true. But fuck it at least every cent would stay in New Zealand. If TV3 got the rights any money they made from the RWC would go straight to the financially stretched Sydney based venture capital firm which bought them.

So Aussies get the profits not us.

Well bugger us with a feather duster - but doesn't this bid show that Maori are savvy,entrepreneurial, opportunistic, smart buggers?

Anyone have a problem with that?

Or is the problem that they are mochachino instead of flat whites?

Nah, we didn't think so..

We arent a country of racists pricks are we?


Cactus Kate said...

Wrong. The real question people should be asking is why ANY taxpayers money should be used to fund television. This includes NZ on Air, TVNZ etc....which should be sold.

And why is the rugby free to air? Seriously.....should be pay per view.

Libertyscott said...

"It's audacious, ballsy, and shit it makes good business and social sense"

It isn't business to use taxpayers' money funnelled through a government department that doesn't fund Maori broadcasting to undercut commercially viable broadcasters. It makes no social sense as it only benefits employees of MTS.

TV3 got no taxpayers' money to start up, neither did Prime, neither did Sky. The money that started up the BCNZ in 1960s is a long ago sunk cost that can't be justified to subsidise MTS.

Be fine if Maori were entrepreneurial borrowing their own money, running their own business without using other people's money acquired by force - that is what makes it different.

Oh and I think the funding is a breach of NZ's WTO and CER obligations, but let's not let that get in the way of vote bribing.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant BB
"Be fine if Maori were entrepreneurial borrowing their own money, running their own business-"
Get a life LS - just look at Ngai Tahu and Tainui and their balance sheets for example; borrowing at commercial rates.
"--without using other people's money acquired by force" Expain--sage?

PM of NZ said...

Nothing like affirmative action, eh bro?

Marty Mars said...

"It could engender such a sense of pride in Maori, who love the channel, that we reckon we may see a shift in Maori behaviour."

More pride to counter the inherent racism here would be good.

maori behaviour doesn't have to shift - everyone else's does.

JC said...


CW said...

CK - so the Government shouldn't be putting a cent in to the Rugby World Cup either? And why is Premiere League and other topline football still free-to-air in the UK?

libertyscott - same question. So the Government shouldn't spend money to make the country as a whole a bunch more money?

BB - you forgot to mention that SKY in the "deal" it got from MTS to prevent the decoder mayhem. Meant that it did not have to spend a brass razoo in changing, or retuning, it's decoders. But in turn got a taxpayer subsidy to carry on using a frequency it never had any right to use.

Anonymous said...

Well said CW! Nobody moans when PM's use tax payers money for rental subsidies on properties they own....oh wait they did but somehow everyone wants to moan about Maori TV funny that!

Cactus Kate said...

CW -

Nope, I don't think that the taxpayer should be propping up any part of hosting the RWC which is a purely commercial exercise. Mallard appears to have told Key to "spend anything" on it. Ridiculous.

I was unaware that the EPL is live and free-to-air in the UK. You may wish to check that as fact.

CW said...

CK Granted, it's not as clear cut as it used to be.



But, it's a huge political issue in the UK.

Anonymous said...

"ads interspersed in the games are anti smoking, anti drinking and aspirational"
Great idea lets bum people out with downer ads when they just want to enjoy some sport.
"the new millennium celebrations with the focus being on Gisborne and Mt Hikurangi..... "
Who'd want to watch that dumb crap.
Your racist TV station was welcome to it.
" Maori are savvy,entrepreneurial, opportunistic, smart buggers?"
Especially when they are being given a chance to spend other peoples money on themselves.
Actually I could not care less who gets the rights as long as they spend their own money obtaining them and that includes TVNZ. I won't be watching the RWC anyway because rugby is a stupid thuggish sport and crap ref descisions play too big a part in the results.
I'm guessing you are someone who has benefited greatly from treaty

Anonymous said...


The Digital Switch Over Date is not 2011.


The Digital Switchover Steering Group has been established to manage the transition from analogue to digital transmission of broadcasting signals. Central to this role is recommending a firm date for the switch and informing the public about what they need to do to be ready. A date for the change will be announced when digital television uptake has reached 75% or by 2012, whichever happens first.

euminedes said...

Well for a start , I have never been a treaty trougher.. The opposite in fact. I reported for years on the many who were. Everyone in Ngai Tahu and Maori Fisheries knows that.
Secondly I co negotiated a $10.9million land settlement which ultimately led to Stewart Island becoming a national park. I was paid $78 dollars - after tax a day. We met for two days a month for two years and then for three days while we negotiated the settlement. And then about 15 days as we went around the country talking to landowners...

We did have a crayfish dinner at a Chinese restaurant to celebrate the Heads of Agreement I seem to remember.Thats as close to troughing I have ever got.

And the rugby is pay per view if you want it live. This is about the domestic delayed coverage...

JC said...

"And the rugby is pay per view if you want it live. This is about the domestic delayed coverage.."

That was the point I just came back to make. It's a whole 'nother thing we are talking about.


CW said...

Anonymous @ 3.40. On what grounds do call TV3 a racist television station.

And, BB just handed you your arse for thinking she is a treaty trougher.

Anonymous @ 5.09 Read the blog again.

Spot said...

...MTS can, within reason, do a hell of a lot with business model, programming strategy etc etc.

But at some point someone might just ask a hard question or two about "strategic intent" and "advancing te reo" etc etc, just how this will have the desired pay back for funds expended.

...and I'm not talking the wishy-washy Reithian "inform, entertain, educate"

We might yet see a few 'long bows' needing to be drawn around this rights acquisition cos at the end of the day for $3mill from TPK and whatever else from MTS CAPEX/OPEX, there an opportunity cost to be considered.

BB - I love your stuff, but pulling the 'race' issue on this one, harsh call methinks.

Anonymous said...

Spot, BB was not bringing up race issue she was just responding to it. And your cost- benefit- will you apply this to TVNZ? Racist could apply to you.
BB Good example of your lack of troughing vs Stewart Island -its called service. Plenty of NT involved in this. Troughers in NT are on the tribal council who pay themselves $30,000pa- above the average wage for Maori- and produce little value. They match the fees paid to those paid to Directors of the commercial arm. Reps on the Council are just trustees; Directors carry all the risk and provide the talent. When are the tribe going to wake up to this rort?

spot said...

Anon @ 1104.

I read slightly different in the opening para ('fleas' etc), implied to me that any criticism of MTS on the rationale for the bid had undertones.

Maybe I misread BB's intent (and apologies if so), but lets have the debate at least as like it or not, giving MTS funding and legis mandate there are PSB considerations at play here.

Regards TVNZ, yes I would apply the same rationale (commercially if nothing else), and on 08/09 revenues of $310mil and dividend $2mil I guess they might be coming to the same conclusion around this bid as well as that of the Comm Games.

But the two entities of MTS and TVNZ do differ in critical areas.

My interest largely lies in the PSB angle on MTS and the positioning of this rights deal, be it commercially, with respect to MTS legislation, charter, Strat Intent etc etc.

At the end of the day, if it works for them it works for them, like I said in the original reply-post, there's a lot of latitude for MTS to do whatever it likes, but they might get questioned on where this all "fits".