19 Oct 2009

Joint cup bid still a good deal, reckons Sharples

8:32 pm on 19 October 2009

The Minister of Maori Affairs says the newly agreed joint bid for the 2011 Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights still provides an excellent platform for Maori Television.

The new bid, which got Cabinet backing on Monday, would see Maori Television showing 16 of the main games live, with TVNZ and TV3 each broadcasting nine of those games.

The opening ceremony would be shown live on Maori TV and TVNZ, and the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final on all three networks.

Prime Minister John Key says it's a good outcome and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says that while Maori Television will not have exclusive rights, he's happy with it too.

"It's not what they went for in the original bid," Dr Sharples says, "but on the other hand what they've achieved is a comprehensive platform, really, of all the All Black games and of course the delayed telecasts of all the pool games - and that should give enough platform for them to launch the things that I want them to launch in terms of gains for Maori."

Government stays coy on extent of public funding

The bid still has to be approved by the International Rugby Board, and until it is, the Government won't say how much public funding it's prepared to put towards it.

Te Puni Kokiri set aside $3 million to support Maori Television's original bid, but Mr Key says that not all of that money will go to the joint bid, and any shortfall will be made up from the general fund.

Mr Key intervened last week to end a bidding war between TVNZ and Maori Television, directing the broadcasters to work together.