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Worries over Maori TV RWC broadcast bid

Published: 6:53PM Monday October 05, 2009 Source: ONE News

Up to 10% of Rugby World Cup commentary could be in Te Reo if Maori Television wins the broadcast rights to the event.

That is the justification given for spending millions of tax payer money on Maori Television's bid.

Thousands may also miss out on watching the game as Maori TV is not broadcast to all regions in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Maori Affairs has forked out three million dollars in taxpayer's money to boost their bid.

Pita Sharples, Maori Party co-leader, is supportive of Maori TV's bid.

"Only New Zealand has the Maori thing and we should take that opportunity because it can really be showcased and expanded through Maori Television."

But Labour list MP Shane Jones believes the taxpayer's money is being wasted in Maori TV's futile bid.

"The Maori Affairs budget is not designed to be handed over to the International Rugby Union; it's designed to help Maori families," says Jones.

Only 90% of New Zealand can access Maori Television and isolated areas like the Bay of Islands and Coromandel could miss out on getting free to air coverage.

But the Prime Minister is promising all New Zealanders will see it all for free.

"If Maori Television doesn't have the capability to deliver that across the country to every New Zealander it will need to work out how it's going to meet my expectations," says Key.

The expectation is that if Maori TV wins, five to 10% of the commentary will be in Te Reo, just like the Breakers basketball matches.

Maori Television says if they can convince people to flick and watch the rugby on their channel, they can boost their ratings and therefore boost Maori language and culture.

At least one commentator agrees.

Dale Husband: "It's another example of Maori finding our feet, finding out economic base and playing ball with the big guys."

International Rugby Limited is the referee in all of this and it will decide whose bid wins or loses next week.

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