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Willie Jackson claims there is "no room for opinionated Maori" at TVNZ after the state broadcaster scrapped his current affairs show Eye to Eye.

"If you want to be a Maori presenter at TVNZ you have to be apolitical but it is a different rule if you are...Paul Holmes or Paul Henry," Jackson said.

"I just think rules are different for people like myself and [outspoken former Maori broadcaster] Derek Fox."

TVNZ won widespread plaudits for Eye to Eye with Jackson chairing a confrontation between four guests, often with two pairs representing Maori and Pakeha interests.

But the state broadcaster has pulled the plug amid funding changes. These meant it had to start contributing cash and ramp the programme up for prime time if it was to attract any public money.

Jackson was grateful Eye to Eye had run for six years and said he was not wholly surprised. But he was disappointed about TVNZ's approach.

The production company Front Of The Box had been told in an email.

After being treated as a valuable talent at TVNZ, Jackson said he had been unable to discuss other work with the broadcaster.

"I've tried to talk to [head of news and current affairs Anthony] Flannery, but he stopped answering my phone calls and emails about a year ago."

DIFFERENT STROKES?

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards insisted that Jackson had not been shut out in the cold and - when asked - said that TVNZ would be happy to talk to him if anything came up in the future.

She said the fact that Eye to Eye had lasted six seasons was proof there was a place for opinionated Maori at TVNZ.

She said that Jason Gunn, whose show Wheel Of Fortune was scrapped, might feel the same way.

TVNZ has a funny relationship with its Maori content - trying to keep it at arm's length.

Gunn will find more commercial formats to suit him and TVNZ's treatment of Jackson seems blasé. You could argue the last season of Eye to Eye was a little flat. The ratings were down although Jackson argues this was because it was moved from Saturday to Sunday. Jackson and Front Of The Box got a formula right and Jackson had a proven ability to communicate with both Maori and Pakeha.

There is no money in TVNZ retaining his services. But he provided truly indigenous New Zealand television - and that supposedly is why we are keeping TVNZ in public ownership.

MONEY TALKS

The decision to kill Eye to Eye is not about political squeamishness, it's about access to free money.

Claudette Hauiti of Eye to Eye production company Front Of The Box said that TVNZ focused its resources on Maori current affairs programme Marae, which is wholly funded from the Maori funding agency Te Mangai Paho.

In the past, Eye to Eye was also funded wholly from taxpayer cash - through the TVNZ charter money. Now the charter money is contestable and the Government has given control to NZ On Air, which is focused on prime time and demands TVNZ contribute some of its own cash.

The upshot is that the public once more loses a rare example of public service television, as more subsidies are pumped into commercial TV.

CAMPBELL v HOLMES

Radio New Zealand removed the online podcast of Denis Welch's media commentary which was broadcast on radio on Tuesday morning, after "taking advice".

Last Tuesday's segment was promoted as discussing competition in the Sunday newspaper sector.

Radio New Zealand declined to discuss the reason for the segment being removed. But it is understood it related to comment on Paul Holmes' column in last week's Herald on Sunday about John Campbell's handling of the Waiouru medals theft.

The Holmes column has led to legal discussions between TV3 and the Herald on Sunday.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Typical PR. Industry body the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand has used a statement dismissing an ethics complaint about one of its members as a plug for more work. Prinz has rejected a complaint against Tony Veitch's public relations adviser Glenda Hughes from Truth journalist Jock Anderson, who called for an investigation into altered references handed to the District Court in Auckland before Veitch's sentencing.

Prinz president Graeme Purches said the committee had dismissed the complaint and added that the committee was satisfied Hughes did not alter documents. The committee said the suggestion about possible unethical behaviour arose as the result of "incorrect media speculation".

This was fuelled by media comment that individuals should not be appointing media advisers in circumstances such as this.

"Prinz takes the view that the media need to accept that the hiring of people by organisations or individuals to provide professional advice regarding media or communication matters is no different to hiring a lawyer, accountant or engineer," said the PR body.

Prinz acknowledged there was a commercial factor in debate on the use of media advisers for accused - PR companies would like more people accused of crimes to hire PR people.

But Purches dismissed Anderson's complaint as "a witch-hunt", a claim wholly rejected by Anderson.

QC QUERY

Anderson made a separate request to the New Zealand Law Society lawyer complaints committee.

Anderson's complaint said Veitch's lawyer Stuart Grieve, QC, gave District Court Judge Jan Doogue 20 testimonials, two of which were later found to have been altered or not intended for sentencing.

Grieve has appointed James Farmer, QC, as his counsel. Farmer replied to the Law Society standards committee that "Mr Grieve has instructed me to advise you that prior to tendering the references to the court he had no knowledge of any alterations to them or reasons to think that they may have been altered".

Farmer pointed to "Mr Grieve's impeccable reputation for integrity."

Anderson replied to the committee that there remained unanswered questions as to how altered references came to be presented to the court by Mr Grieve.

Canterbury University law professor Jeremy Finn separately lodged requests with the Law Society lawyer complaints committee.

RADIO ROYALTIES ROW

Record companies have done a better job promoting Kiwi credentials than they did with the ill-fated debacle over Section 92A of the Copyright Act.

The record companies body Phonographic Performances has made a claim to the Copyright Tribunal suggesting a threefold increase to the price radio companies pay to access music - from 1.75 per cent of radio gross revenue to as much as 6 per cent - which might cost the radio industry up to $9 million a year.

Record industry body Rianz led the charge in the 92A debate - calling for internet service providers to police online piracy - and was so confident of success it didn't bother with the PR gesture beloved in New Zealand media that they were protecting New Zealand talent. In the radio royalties row, PPNZ has been smarter, with positive coverage on local credentials, even though at least 75 per cent of royalties go to overseas firms.

SHORTS

* Metro magazine has hired satirist and wit Paul Casserly as a columnist, part of a makeover for the magazine.

* nzherald.co.nz is shifting its editorial operation away from the main editorial operation of the newspaper on July 25. The team will join the rest of the APN Online team in Albert St.

* Urgent Couriers is selling advertising space on its vehicles to boost earnings.