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Current as of 22/12/14 07:40PM NZST

NZ Paralympic coverage 'ridiculous'

By Paul Harper

Former Kiwi Paralympic athletes have slammed the television coverage of the London Games as the "worst it has ever been".

Sky TV has the rights to the event and has screened one-hour highlights packages of events, with the opening and closing ceremonies broadcast live.

For the Olympics, however, Sky had five extra channels dedicated to providing live coverage, at no extra cost to subscribers.

Beijing silver-medallist Kate Horan labelled the coverage of the Paralympics as "ridiculous".

"[The] Paralympics has come so far, and we are doing so well, and yet this coverage is the worst it has ever been," Ms Horan told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme.

"It's just such a shame, because ... there have been some outstanding performances and they haven't been shown. This general public probably doesn't even realise just how well we are doing and who our athletes are."

As of this morning, New Zealand has won four gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

Mark Inglis, who won silver at the Sydney Paralympics, also slated the coverage, telling Radio New Zealand Kiwis do want to watch the Paralympics live and suggested businesses front up and sponsor improved coverage.

"We haven't even had a dedicated camera crew standing on the finish line. I was privileged to have that in 2000, and we certainly saw it in Athens and Beijing, so I'd have to say it is a real pity to catch up with nearly as much [Paralympics coverage] as we have in previous years."

Sky TV spokesperson Kirsty Way defended the level of coverage, saying there would not be enough viewers to justify coverage similar to the Olympics and the pay-to-view channel was screening twice as many highlights packages as TVNZ did four years ago.

"We do support the event, we've upped the coverage, but we just can't be in the business of making programming decisions that don't have some commercial sense to them," Ms Way told Checkpoint.

"At the end of the day it means our viewers miss out on some other content they might like to watch, or the subscription fees need to go up higher."

Labour's broadcasting spokesperson Claire Curran said it was a "disgrace" there was no live Paralympics coverage shown in New Zealand.

"The lack of live coverage of events showcasing the enormous talent of our Paralympians is not only a lost opportunity to provide positive role models for the almost one in five New Zealanders with a disability, but also exposes the glaring gap that public television should be serving."

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