Waatea News Column: TVNZ decision against Maori Party detrimental to politics


TVNZ have made the decision to exclude the Māori Party from their election debates.

The argument being forwarded by TVNZ is that the Māori Party is polling too low to be included, but seeing as TVNZ is the State Broadcaster and seeing as being the State Broadcaster carries larger obligations to New Zealand’s political process and to Māori the decision seems to fly in the face of its wider obligations.

The 7 Māori electorates barely get news oxygen as it is, and while the Māori Party are currently polling 1%, a small increase in that number alongside an electorate win would bring two MPs into Parliament.

But those pathways to power aside, the Māori Party represents the only uniquely Māori political aspiration running this election, and banning their leaders from participating in Leader debates seems more 18th-century colonialism than 21st Century public broadcasting.

The Māori Party have challenged TVNZs decision on this, but if it’s not overturned, the Leadership debates look set to be a very Pakeha Party discussion which is especially dangerous to Māori seeing as they are the ones who feel the bite of a recession far worse and in the post-COVID virus recovery, Māori political aspirations will be silenced.

TVNZ should be ashamed as the Public Broadcaster.

First published on Waatea News.

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  1. Whichever way you look at it, this is Wrong! Shockingly wrong.
    Who makes these incredibly stupid and wrong decisions? Why are they there?
    Absolute fools.

  2. ” TVNZ should be ashamed as the Public Broadcaster ”

    The Key government abolished the TVNZ charter in 2011. Not sure if the Maori party voted in favour of the following replacement by Key and his corporate cronies but it has weakened public broadcasting and encouraged the biased state run company to behave more like its corporate competition.
    Responsible non biased public broadcasting is a right denied us for some considerable time.
    Labour said at the time that public broadcasting has died in New Zealand.
    Some of the following were the provisions outlined at the time.

    Having the presence of a significant Maori voice, including programmes promoting the Maori language and programmes addressing Maori history, culture and current issues;
    Include the tastes and interests not generally catered for by other national television broadcasters;
    Provide independent, comprehensive, impartial, and in-depth coverage and analysis of news and current affairs;
    Promote understanding of the diversity of cultures making up the New Zealand population;
    Feature New Zealand films, drama, comedy and documentary programmes;
    Provide for the informational, entertainment and educational needs of children and young people;
    Observe a code of ethics that addresses the level and nature of advertising to which children are exposed.


  3. I added this from the Labour parties comments on Johns post regarding National tearing up the charter in 2011.
    “Independent public media, not captured by vested interests, is critical to the health of a nation. New Zealanders deserve more than just ‘popular’ television. They deserve well-made, quality programming that reflects them and their communities.

    “Labour introduced the charter to do exactly that. A corporate mainstream media concerned first and foremost with profit won’t.”

    Mr Coleman says the dual mandate at TVNZ, having both commercial obligations and public service obligations, shackled the company.

    He says removing the Charter means TVNZ has “the flexibility it needs to effectively pursue commercial objectives”.


  4. I think that support in the polls is not really a good basis for selection of participants since it would seem to lead to “self fulfilling” results. TVNZ needs to make up its mind on the basis of “brand recognition”. They should include well known parties like the Maori Party, Opportunities Party and Social Credit, regardless of poll performance, simply because these are well known parties.

  5. The Maori party will be on Maori tv debates but it doesn’t have a seat in parliament nor is it likely to get one and it is polling incredibly low. It has never been the voice of Maori at it’s peak it got %2 of the vote. I think their should be an extra parliamentary debate but if the cut off to getting 2% (top managed it) that’s the rules… Who ya calling pakeha parties ?

    The greens co-leader is a Maori who will be debating. (Probably the whitest party in parliament after act tho)

    Nzf led by a Maori man with 4 of his 9 mps being Maori. The largest % of Maori in a caucus.

    Labour: has the largest Maori caucus in history, holds all the Maori seats, a Maori deputy and receives the largest share of Maori votes of any party.

    National: sketchy af but first major party to have dual Maori leader and deputy what a shame they rolled Simon and Paula tbh National receives the second largest amount of Maori votes.

    Maori will be represented because Maori vote for these parties to represent them.
    I’m not meaning to sound rude to the Maori party I would like to see them return but they continually degrade every other party’s Maori mp’s as being inauthentic and as if they don’t matter, as someone from a mixed race family that drives me nuts.

  6. Does the author assume that the presumptuously named “The Maori Party” is the only legitimate voice of Maori? Maori are well represented in Labour and NZ First, though not quite so well in National, Greens and ACT.

  7. It behooves the parties that were invited, to decline to participate without them there.. It is most important that TVNZ interference is negated from the start… It would put the party(s) that weren’t willing to stand alongside into stark relief as well.. This amounts to colonial over reach on TVNZ’s part..

  8. I agree. They should be there if only because John Tamahere is one of our greatest orators and while I disagree with 75% of what comes out of his mouth I do love hearing him talk.

    Disgusting decision – but hey it’s the same entity that has Jessica Mutch as your political editor – not unexpected is it.

  9. Very, very bad decision making. The Maori Party is a political party standing this coming election. As such, it is entitled to be represented in the debates. This move by TVNZ is appalling! Who directed these clowns to come to this decision? Steven Joyce?

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