A small debate is going on in media circles at the moment over the Government's decision to cough up $38 million towards Radio New Zealand to have them produce some sort of TV channel.

Established players, who are either barely keeping their head above water or are indeed in a world of debt and below water, have complained that none of this $38 million and more TV can lead anywhere good, and they are probably right.

What's also of concern (and it's amazing how when you're dealing with PC matters how little outcry you get) is the Maori TV announcement that they're carrying free to air WWE wrestling.

That's right, wrestling on yet another state-funded TV channel, which I thought was funded to support or grow the indigenous language and culture. What WWE wrestling has to do with Maori culture, I have no idea. But maybe I shouldn't ask, for fear that a petition will be started accusing me of behaving insensitively.


There are a couple of wrongs here, the most obvious being taxpayer money is being used for commercial crap that is well and truly beyond the bounds of any sort of charter-type guidance for a publicly funded operation.

To be fair, public money through NZ on Air has been used for all sorts of lightweight nonsense over the years.

And the model is broken, given they're funding podcasts and net content these days with no real way of working out whether there is any bang for buck.

But the Maori TV model, I would have thought, is very specific and therefore very clear in what it's actually there to do. And what it's not there to do is to provide commercial rubbish of no real relatable connection to a culture.

They will defend it by saying they're looking to run a Maori commentary. But that proves what? Nothing.

They could argue that a populist programme might attract more viewers and in doing so expose them to the language. But do you really believe that? And that's before we get to the second part of this being a mistake.

WWE was once WWF, and WWF was on TV here in the late 1980s/early 1990s, but was pulled in part because of the violence. As theatrical as it is, it is nevertheless violent. Are taxpayers feeling good about funding violent programming on a Maori TV channel designed to promote Maori culture? I don't think we need to answer that. So where are the questions?

Where are the people who are handing our money out? Where are they and why aren't they demanding a few answers, as to why we have a channel delving into a programming world well outside their remit? Using other people's dough. Or is it all a bit sensitive these days to even be crass enough to ask the question at all?