A proposal to make All Black tests and other national sporting events free-to-air was set to fail last night.

A bill in the name of New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell would ensure that any game of "national significance" was freely available to all New Zealanders.

But Mitchell said he had failed to gain enough support to get it over the first hurdle.

Mitchell singled out Labour for not agreeing to back it, saying the party was "forsaking working Kiwis and seniors" who could not afford pay TV. Supporting New Zealand teams and other taxpayer-supported events could involve costs of $1000 a year per household, he said.


Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman, Clare Curran, said Mitchell's bill was "unworkable and impractical" because it required too many sporting events to be broadcast for free. Labour's priority was improving public broadcasting, she said.

Another Opposition bill was also expected to be voted down yesterday.

Green MP Gareth Hughes' private members' bill would have allowed people with student loans to put off their repayments and divert them into a deposit for a first home. Isaac Davison