The Minister of Maori Affairs must seek immediate assurances from the Chair and CEO of Maori Television that editorial independence at Maori TV has not been compromised, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.
“The shock resignation of prominent and respected reporter Mihingarangi Forbes last week from Maori TV’s Native Affair’s programme has exposed further rifts within the publicly funded broadcaster.
“The Minister’s silence is worrying on what was discussed with Maori TV CEO Paora Maxwell the day before a decision was made to axe a panel discussion on Whanau Ora on the current affairs show Native Affairs.
“Labour has also been informed of another decision to axe a further story on Te Kohanga Reo.
“Labour raised significant concerns in Parliament before Mr Maxwell was appointed to the job. A board member resigned over the appointment process. The appointment went ahead regardless. Since then several very senior and highly respected staff have left.
“In May last year in accepting the resignation of the Head of News and Current affairs Julian Wilcox, Paora Maxwell said ‘Maori Television accepts Mr Wilcox's written statement and we will continue to value our editorial independence in providing impartial and independent news coverage of significant regional and national stories from a Māori perspective.’
“The Minister must be assured that impartial and independent coverage has been maintained in this case.
“He needs to step in and demand an explanation,” says Clare Curran.