24 Oct 2014

MP questions TVNZ's future

4:25 pm on 24 October 2014

Labour's broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says a plan to outsource content for Maori and Pacific programming at Television New Zealand has left many unanswered questions.

Labour MP Kris Faafoi.

Kris Faafoi. Photo: Supplied

The state broadcaster yesterday announced its decision to contract out its Maori and Pacific programmes Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika. The daily news programme, Te Karere, is excluded.

Mr Faafoi, a former television journalist, says it seems TVNZ is washing its hands of Pacific and Māori programming and believes Maori and Pacific audiences have been "ghettoised" for so long.

The MP said the move to outsource programming poses the question: is TVNZ going to be a public broadcaster for much longer and he is worried for people's jobs.

One of the programmes, Tagata Pasifika, has been on air for 27 years. Executive producer Stephen Stehlin said TVNZ has given assurances that the programmes won't be disestablished and replaced with new ones from independent producers.

However, he is worried about who will be making them in future.

Mr Stehlin said in the 21st century, such programmes need to be made by Maori and Pacific people and by companies owned by them.

He said yesterday's announcement came as a shock and up to 40 staff on the affected programmes are likely to be made redundant.

Meanwhile, Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams said she expects TVNZ to operate as a commercial entity and to think carefully about how they can provide best value for the taxpayer.

How it sources it material is entirely up to them, she said.

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