Tuesday, 13 October 2009



13 October 2009


Maori Television has confirmed that it will not withdraw its bid for the free-to-air Rugby World Cup rights despite a Government announcement today that it is financing a late bid by TVNZ aimed at beating the Māori Television bid.

Chief Executive Jim Mather said he was surprised and disappointed at the decision by the Government to attempt to defeat Maori Television’s bid. He described the decision as extremely disappointing.

Mr Mather said he was also extremely concerned at allegations that the TVNZ bid was developed with access to confidential information within Maori Television’s bid, indicating that the tender process for the rights had been compromised.

He was similarly concerned at the process that had been undertaken to develop the TVNZ bid and the actions of some Government ministers.

Mr Mather confirmed that Maori Television had not been consulted by either the Government or TVNZ on the development of its bid, and had not been invited to participate in it. He was not aware of the detail of the bid apart from what had been reported in the media.

He could not understand the rationale for the Government to finance a TVNZ bid, particularly given its concerns that Government funds should not be spent on broadcasting rights.

“The Government’s objection to the Maori Television bid has been the fact that it is supported by Te Puni Kokiri funding. The TPK support has been labeled inappropriate use of Government funding, yet now the Government is providing more funds to beat the Maori Television bid. What is the rationale for this and why is funding for TVNZ now deemed to be appropriate use of Government funds?” said Mr Mather.

“The Government’s other concern has been the matter of 10% of New Zealanders not being able to access the Maori Television analogue signal. However, Maori Television addressed this by modifying its bid to allow for sub-licensing of some games. It is our understanding that Prime Minister John Key was happy with this arrangement,” said Mr Mather.

Mr Mather said that the TVNZ bid had resulted in the two publicly funded broadcasters now competing against each other and questioned the rationale for this.

“Maori Television submitted its bid after bids by the other broadcasters had been deemed “inappropriate” by Rugby World Cup Limited. Maori Television cannot be accused of entering into a bidding war. That is an accusation for TVNZ to answer,” he said.

Mr Mather said that he was satisfied that Maori Television had acted appropriately at all times, including the process it had undertaken internally to develop a business plan that had undergone intense scrutiny at Board level, through to the submission of its bid with the knowledge of all of Maori Television’s stakeholders.

Mr Mather also stated the following:

Dr Coleman is incorrect in his statement that the Government contacted Maori Television prior to our bid being submitted. At no stage prior to the bid being submitted was Maori Television approached by Dr Coleman or a Government representative with any request, including one to “reach an agreement” with other broadcasters.

· Maori Television did not decide to “go it alone”, as stated by Dr Coleman. The IRB bid required that all bids were to be from individual broadcasters. Maori Television was advised by the IRB that it did not want any joint bids, nor did it want any bids which proposed sub-licensing. However, in response to the Prime Minister’s expectation that Maori Television was required to ensure 100% coverage, Maori Television approached the IRB with the requirement that our bid must allow for sub-licensing. This was agreed by the IRB.

· The allegation that Maori Television has not worked collaboratively is false. Maori Television has abided by the requirements of the bid, which until a week ago was that no sub-licensing would be permitted.

Mr Mather acknowledged the support that Maori Television has been receiving from a range of Maori organizations and iwi Maori. He also acknowledged the many non-Maori New Zealanders who have also expressed their support.

He said Maori Television remained confident that its bid was serious and credible and that, should Maori Television win the rights, it looked forward to broadcasting all 48 games of the Rugby World Cup tournament free-to-air for all New Zealanders.


Anonymous said...

There's a lesson here: front up about your intentions and do these things through the front door, and if they have merit they will succeed.

Or act in secret, creating embarrassing surprises for your colleagues, and suffer the consequences.

Sorry, but this shambles is of Sharples and Leith Comer's own making. They tried a giant sneak and got busted.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first commenter: it's a little rich for Pita Sharples to accuse National of subterfuge and lack of openness. Nobody's covered in glory, sorry.

And please, the issue is already degenerating into race card-playing. Not everybody opposed to MTS's bid is a redneck who wants to keep iwi down.

I live in an area that gets horrendous MTS signal, but according to Pita Sharples people like me don't matter. I don't have Sky so I don't care enough about rugby to deserve to watch the free-to-air games? Well actually I do care; I just don't have the money to spend on Sky.

Anonymous said...

Is Mather saying Coleman was lying?

Anonymous said...

I think Mather is probably going to get the bash from his own board today.

You just watch. He was way out of line with some of the things he was saying about Coleman.