9 Jun 2015

Little backs public interest news outlet

10:40 am on 9 June 2015

Labour leader Andrew Little says the party supports the establishment of a dedicated public interest news and current affairs outlet.

He told Morning Report this follows the demise of Campbell Live and growing concern about the debasement of news and current affairs.

Mr Little said Labour was forming a working group to look at what it might cost and whether the answer might be tougher content requirements for current broadcasters, or a dedicated public service television or internet-based news service.

Mr Little said it was unlikely the party would consider the reintroduction of a TV license fee.

He said Labour had also sought assurances from Maori TV that political agendas are not influencing its news coverage.

Mr Little told Morning Report his broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran sought such an assurance in the wake of controversy over the appointment of chief executive Paora Maxwell and the departure of several top staff.

"I think it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, is there something more behind this? And knowing many of the staff were concerned about the appointment of the chief executive in the last year or two, it is time for the board to give an assurance that there is no political agenda being trotted out here."

Mr Little said it was concerning to see such an outflow of talented broadcasters at Maori TV, who were prepared to challenge the status quo and the establishment.

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