Māori Development Minister confirms consideration of MTS, TVNZ, RNZ merger

By Heta Gardiner

The Minister of Māori Development has officially confirmed a merger involving TVNZ, RNZ and Māori Television is an option that’s been discussed at Government level.

Nanaia Mahuta confirmed the option has in fact been placed on the table but it wasn’t her preference.

“The autonomy of Māori broadcasting is paramount for me and what’s central to my thinking is the revitalization of te reo Māori.”

The Minister presented Cabinet with the Māori Media Sector Shift report last month following a policy review of the Māori media led by Te Puni Kōkiri.

The purpose of the review was to explore future options in the delivery of te reo and Māori content for radio and television.

She says a number of options have been put up for consideration but  merging Māori Television with TVNZ and RNZ was not an option she supported.

Ngā Aho Whakaari Chair and veteran broadcaster Hineani Melbourne says presenting the idea should never have been put up for discussion in the first place.

She’s called on Māori broadcasters to speak up now and stop any conversations around it moving forward.

"We say to the Government, we don’t want a part of this, you’ve tried this before, we’ve had a New Zealand Broadcasting corporation and didn’t work before, especially for Māori.”

The Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi says a review of public broadcasting is important and confirmed the wider sector was being looked at.

“The Minister of Māori Affairs is looking at the Māori Media Sector as well but I think there’s been a whole lot  of speculation out there and you’ll just have to taihoa (wait) until the end of the year when we let you know what’s going on.”

Mahuta told Te Ao that Cabinet would be releasing a second report with recommendations and advised these would be presented to the Media and Māori to consider the options they prefer before anything was finalised.