11 October 2009

Herald on Sunday so wrong about TV

The Herald on Sunday has joined the chorus of defending TPK (read "your taxes") paying for the Maori Television Service to bid for the free to air broadcasting rights to the Rugby World Cup.

For some it might be petty minded racism, but for me it's simple.

It's anti-competitive and grossly unfair. It gives a state owned broadcaster an advantage over privately owned broadcasters using money taken by force.

If those interested in Maori broadcasting think it is "money well spent" then spend your own money. That's what the shareholders of Sky Television in the early days (when it was primarily owned by NZ entrepreneurs) did. It is what regional broadcasters across the country wish they could do as well. What a shot in the arm it would be for them to get such rights for their regions, but don't expect that to be considered special - and quite rightly so.

You see TVNZ does NOT spend taxpayers' money bidding for sports broadcasting rights. It is financially self sustaining, and the only taxpayers' money it gets is essentially the same as the Maori Television Service is entitled to, funding for specific programmes through NZ On Air (Te Mangai Paho for the MTS).

To quote TPK's remit as "to contribute to "Maori succeeding as Maori, achieving a sustainable level of success as individuals, in organisations and in collectives ... Our investments in Maori development build resources."" is facile. TPK takes from Maori as much as it gives, it spends money taken money from people who succeed and dishes it out, whilst taking a share for its own staff.

It's this blatant inability to acknowledge where the money came from, and that MTS's competitors do NOT get the same privileges, that is at issue here. For you see, if MTS borrowed the money and won the rights, then made money from it, then at least at a time of budget deficits there would be less reason to be concerned.

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