6 Mar 2019

Māori Television's finances panned in select committee

5:46 pm on 6 March 2019

An Auditor-General review of Māori Television's finances has been described as damning by politicians at a Māori Affairs Select Committee today.

The new Māori Television building.

Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

National Party MP Nuk Korako revealed Māori Television's cash reserves decreased from $9.6 million in 2016 to $1.5m now.

He said that was barely enough to cover operational costs for several months should they need it.

"We've got an overview from the papers we get from the auditor general's office ... the information is quite damning," Mr Korako said.

Māori Television's chair Jamie Tuuta said the reduction was a consequence of moving premises from New Market to East Tāmaki.

"We have a policy in terms of ensuring that from a cash position, that is maintained.

"We've got to acknowledge that that has occurred and what we're dealing with now is, what ability do we have to ensure that we're able to continue to deliver content-services to our audiences?"

He said it was still a challenge for the network to keep up with a growing multi-media environment, given it had not had an increase in production funding since 2004.

"I think we're looking for investment from the government in an initiative in an organisation that is going to contribute to te reo and tikanga."

He said the network was still attracting large audiences, with nearly 600,000 viewers across all of its a platforms a week.

A Māori media review is currently underway which will consider options on funding and access Māori media have to Māori language programming content.

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