Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National knew about the Rugby World Cup Maori TV bid in June

post has been updated again
Derek Fox, former media manager of the Maori Party - he resigned a month or so ago for reasons not specifically related to the Rugby World Cup bid and is yet to be replaced - has revealed that Bill English knew about the Maori TV bid for the Rugby World Cup back in June. On June 23, English and Sports Minister Murray McCully were told about the bid. So it sounds a little rich to criticise Pita Sharples for not telling ministers about the bid when two ministers already knew and could find out more themselves.

But they didn't want to find out more - they wanted to stop it. Since then McCully has been "donkey deep" in attempts to spike MTS's bid to the exclusive free-to-air rights. Photocopies of the Maori Television Service bid were personally delivered to the offices of Finance Minister Bill English and Associate Rugby World Cup Minister Gerry Brownlee on September 24.

So the letter English received on September 7 2 from Georgina te Heuheu (the Minister responsible for Maori broadcasting) was not the first time he knew about the bid -but it was the first time English (the shareholding minister for Maori Television) was advised of the $3m amount - although he was aware of the liklihood of Te Puni Kokiri funding.The bid had gone in three days earlier.

That's when it all blew up. The problem was the TPK funding was going to ensure a tax-payer funded bid, perhaps successful if TVNZ earlier rejected bids weren't bumped up. Failing that, only 80 percent of the country would see the game unless MTV sub-licenced the rights.

National had three months warning about the bid. It did nothing apart from supporting a TVNZ counter-bid once tne $3m was confirmed, and then spat the dummy.

It has now sucked the dummy back in and allowed Maori Television Service to process unchallenged with its bid. TVNZ has withdrawn its bid and will have to accept a sub-licensing arrangement. Ka Pai!

update And I see a good night was had at the Green Parrot celebrating this achievement.

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