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TMP head resigns after report

Published: 7:13PM Wednesday May 28, 2003

Corruption allegations against Te Mangai Paho have cost its head his job following a Treasury report into a string of embarrassing revelations about the Maori broadcasting funding agency.

Te Mangai Paho chairman Toby Curtis resigned after the agency board met the Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia late on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the report.

It followed revelations the agency inadvertently employed a convicted fraudster, Tame Te Rangi, who went on to approve funding for a company he was involved with.

Parekura Horomia says after reading the Treasury report he is disappointed both the board and management did not act sooner over the issue of Mr Te Rangi.

"I'm quite clear that the matter has gone on far too long and I'm pleased to finally have clarified that with Toby and the board. The review found no evidence of systemic failure but there was the issue around Tame Te Rangi."

Te Mangai Paho Radio manager Tame Te Rangi has already resigned - an undisclosed fraud conviction sealed his fate in March.

The report confirms he was paid for rubgy commentaries by Maori Sportscasting International - a company with $600,000 worth of Te Mangai Paho contracts supervised by Mr Te Rangi.

Former Te Mangai Paho chairman Toby Curtis denies he was forced to resign his position by the Minister of Maori Affairs.

"I immediatey agreed to step down because he wanted to make a change and I'm happy to be part of that change."

Act MP Rodney Hide exposed the payments and says winding up Te Mangai Paho is now the only solution.

"We shouldn't be having a jam jar of money for Maori broadcasting with Maori written on it...it should all be wrapped up into New Zealand On Air."

But Maori programme makers are loathe to see Te Mangai Paho merged.

It was set up ten years ago after the courts found the Crown wasn't doing enough to support the Maori language on air.

Former Te Mangai Paho CEO, Ripeka Evans, says it was a sensible move.

"We just can't trust organisations that don't have a Maori focus and don't have a Maori strategy in place, to get one very quickly."

Maori programme maker Claudette Hauiti agrees the agency was needed.

"It was a magnificent idea to establish Te Mangai Paho, but where are the processes or the strategies that were put in place to assist them with doing their jobs effectively and efficiently?"

Toby Curtis is to be replaced by the former Ministry of Maori Development boss Wira Gardiner.

 

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