21 Jun 2010

Radio denies host silenced over contract comments

2:54 pm on 21 June 2010

The head of a state-funded radio station denies a host was taken off the air for questioning the Government granting a contract for Pacific Island services without a tendering process.

Efeso Collins, who hosts a current affairs programme on the Auckland-based Radio Five-31 PI, says he's received no explanation for being stood down.

The chief executive of Pacific Media Network, Tom Etuata, says Mr Collins was rested from his show for performance, not over the PEDA debate.

Mr Etuata says he won't comment on what he says is an internal staff matter.

Nick Bakulich, a Pacific community leader, has said he suspects Mr Collins has been gagged for questioning the transparency in an allocation of $4.8 million to the Pacific Economic Development Agency, for a contract to improve the economic wellbeing of Pacific Islanders.

He says management must justify why Mr Collins has been taken off the air.

Another supporter, Harry Toleafo, says Mr Collins was raising questions about transparency and it's shameful that he's been silenced.

Maungakiekie MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, who was interviewed by Mr Collins about the PEDA contract, says that contrary to some reports, he has no complaint with him.