"The Maori TV channel still seems to be a dim flicker on the horizon, and people are beginning to get impatient," National's Broadcasting Spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.
"13.8 million dollars worth of programming funded by Te Mangai Paho is taking up shelf space waiting for the channel.
"Don't blame Te Mangai Paho for that. Marian Hobbs told us in December that Cabinet would decide at its first meeting of the year whether to proceed with plans for a Maori television channel as National had planned. Her only concern was that the channel was 'adequately resourced'.
"Since then we have heard nothing. It now seems that Marian Hobbs has passed the Maori broadcasting parcel to Parakura Horomia, and is no longer answering questions directed to her regarding Maori broadcasting. That's not good enough.
"The Minister of Broadcasting must continue to focus on Maori broadcasting within her role. The Minister of Maori Affairs is faced with pressing issues relating to Maori health, education and social welfare. In that context Maori broadcasting has a tough fight for recognition as being an important investment.
"Lumping Maori broadcasting in with other Maori issues is a convenient way for Marian to sidestep some of the tough decisions regarding the Maori channel which were expected to be made by the Minister of Broadcasting this year.
"With all Labour's impassioned speeches about the importance of 'the development and long term sustainability of a high quality, networked radio and television broadcasting service' for Maori there has been no progress in the last eight months since the election. No wonder Maori broadcasters are deeply frustrated," Katherine Rich said.