18 Nov 2009

Rights bid turned into a 'Rubik's cube' - Maori TV head

6:09 pm on 18 November 2009

The Maori Television Service (MTS) says it's disappointed that its bid for the free-to-air Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights turned into a "Rubik's cube" of different expectations and requirements.

Maori Television, TVNZ and TV3 have teamed up in a joint bid to televise the 2011 tournament but only after a political spat arose when Cabinet ministers learnt that Maori TV was using taxpayer funding to boost its bid.

Appearing with other MTS executives before a parliamentary select committee on Wednesday morning, MTS chief executive Jim Mather told MPs that he was satisfied with the position reached but disappointed with the process leading up to it.

"At the outset," he said, "it was a very straightforward negotiation, but then it very quickly turned into a Rubik's cube of different and differing expectations and requirements."

Maori Television says that while it has performed well financially, it expects deficits in coming years because of rising costs due to inflation, lower advertising revenues and a fixed funding stream in the foreseeable future.