Inspired by the angry Pakeha freedom fighters of Devonport who are upset about the deal that will give Ngati Whatua some fenced-off land that no-one can access anyway, I wondered if I could work up a race-based sweat about the impending closure of TVNZ7, which is, after all, the Pakeha version of Maori TV.

So firstly some comparisons with other countries with regard to public broadcasting. Close to home, Australia has the ABC, a commercial-free channel along the lines of the gold standard: the BBC.

With SBS, they also have a hybrid multicultural channel that features news and documentaries (although it's worth noting that its most watched show to date has been Southpark).

If you've watched these channels in Australia you'll know what we're missing. SBS is now run by Shaun Brown - ex-TVNZ - who shocked viewers by introducing 'in show' ad breaks in 2006. Though it has to be pointed out that these ad breaks don't exceed five minutes an hour, compared to about 15 minutes on NZ TV.


So ruling TV1 out of the equation (too many ads, reality shows, Mark Sainsbury's mustache etc) that leaves TVNZ7 and Maori TV as our version of 'Public TV', and while they do very good work, they pale in comparison to the British and Australian versions.

It may be something that 20 million more people would fix but by the time we reach that sort of population milestone we'll probably all be underwater, viewing Facebook on our big toenail. The Blues will still be win-less, though may as well be playing underwater.

The forthcoming euthanasia of TVNZ7 (6 has already 'gone to live on a farm') will mean that soon we won't even be able to make these comparisons to other country's public broadcasting, to places like Finland for example.

Despite their appalling unemployment rates and way too salty herrings, even Finland has commercial-free public service TV. Several channels actually. Which - like the BBC - is funded by a license fee.

However the popularity of any NZ politician bringing back a license fee would probably been on a par with Gerry Brownlee's chances of getting laid in Helsinki. Mind you, the Finnish comedy output is nothing to be jealous of - the backlash to Brownlee's moronic parliamentary spazz was equally moronic.

With their fat jokes and desperate clinging to Angry Birds for national pride, those Finns really made New Zealanders* of themselves.

(*Small minded, easily offended, clinging to Pavlova, not realising that Marmite is British for f**ks sake etc)

So while Maori interests seem well served with two channels, what about the commercial-hating, liberal-minded, (and not keen on reality TV, dramas from South Pacific Pictures or young blond reporters on the 6 o'clock news) Pakeha viewer?


Surely our struggling pioneering ancestors didn't work their scratchy woollen vests off in swampy flax-infested bogs for publicly funded commercial TV? Surely they wanted documentaries and shows about books.

OK so they would have approved of Country Calender, but they would have complained that it lacked realism.

So where are we heading? Will 'Go Harvey Norman' will become more familiar than the national anthem let alone the Country Calender theme?
Will us liberal-minded, ad-hating (etc) Pakehas march on Parliament and drive our collective fart-tax tractor up the steps? A stern letter to the Listener perhaps?

A faint grumble at a dinner party, probably.

And all because of what, low ratings? The 15 million annual cost? Or is it just a Socialist baby that the Tories want to put down? Couldn't that guy form Te Kauwhata bail it out? Does he watch anyway? Probably not.

It's fair to say that all is pretty much lost, the channel is not long for this world, and a reprieve is unlikely.

Undeterred, the people at Save TVNZ7 have started a petition (about eight thousand so far) which you can join here.

Meanwhile Labour MP Clare Curran is working on a private member's bill, which is a long shot, but this is the very same Parliamentary version of lotto that brought us the anti-smacking legislation.

Finally and strangely, the last time I looked, Wikipedia said that TVNZ7 will continue after all, with the addition of advertising! But this doesn't seem to be backed up by actual information in the real world, where everyone expects the life support to be turned off on June 30.

So farewell TVNZ7, thanks for some great shows, for the extended news, for the documentaries, and let's hope we haven't seen the last of shows like The Good Word, Media 7, Backbenches and Hindsight.

As the Pakehas of old and their dogs used to say: bugger.