Sorry Ian Taylor, but you've missed the point.
I couldn't believe the rubbish that I read about me accusing him of being a useless Māori because he didn't speak the Māori language.
Now let me put this on record, that never happened. I have spent my life supporting Māori who don't have the language and I am ruthless on Māori language fundamentalists who judge Māori on their ability to speak Māori. So I would never judge anyone who did not have the reo.
I have written in the Herald about people like Hana Jackson, who could not speak Māori, and who contributed more to the Māori language revival than just about anyone. My mother had minimal reo and I am competent at best so there is no way in the world that I would have said what Ian is claiming.
This was confirmed by a couple of people I spoke to who were at the meeting that Ian is referring to. One of them, Tu Williams, who is now the National Party senior Māori adviser and kaumatua and was my secretary at the time. And the other, former Māori Television chief executive, Jim Mather. We are all clear about what I said to Ian and both of them will go on record to verify this.
It was a privilege and honour for me to chair the Māori TV electoral college board where we had leaders like Kōhanga Reo head, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Māori Council kuia Titewhai Harawira and Māori Women's Welfare boss, Katerina O'Brien, just to name a few. I always had to be on my game with that type of leadership around me.
When Ian decided to give us a lecture about how much he knew about Māori business and how little we knew, I had no choice but to sit him down. I could not let Ian patronise and disrespect our board.
He told me after the meeting that he felt humiliated but I said to him that it was nothing personal, that I had a responsibility to look after the affairs of Māori broadcasters and language providers and I could never let anyone talk down to our people, which was what he was doing. Never once did I mention his inability to speak Māori. That had nothing to do with it.
I find it extremely upsetting that Ian has chosen to defame me in this manner and feel that he has taken an opportunity to capitalise on the unfortunate incident that happened in the house between Kelvin Davis and Act's Karen Chhour.
I do have past history in terms of challenging high profile Māori, and recently broadcaster Mike McRoberts talked about how I challenged him 12 years ago about presenting Māori perspective. Mike has now taken up the challenge and good on him. I have never questioned these people about their identity or whakapapa but always challenge them about their commitment in terms of advancing kaupapa Māori.
Sometimes people take these challenges the wrong way and think that I don't consider them Māori or Māori enough or think I consider them inferior because they don't speak Māori. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just believe that if you are a Māori in an influential position then you should take opportunities to give a Māori perspective, to advance a Māori position. No more, no less.
Ian has done very well for himself and in amalgamating TVNZ and RNZ, we are attempting to do just as well for NZ democracy.
Ian bemoans the lack of business sense that he perceives in my CV. Well, this isn't just about business, this is about protecting our democracy with a functioning fourth estate journalism.
We all saw on Parliament's lawns what disinformation and misinformation can produce, a strong well-funded public broadcasting service can be the trusted backbone of a media broadcasting environment that helps grow the entire broadcasting industry.
I appreciate the shrill tone Sir Ian has at the idea of taxpayer funds going to public broadcasting assets. But I won't shy away from ensuring Kiwis have a properly resourced public broadcaster who can define fact from misinformation in an increasingly polarised political environment.
You may know the cost of everything Ian, but seem to understand little of its value. Believe it or not, I value your talent, support for our people and contribution to this country. I congratulate you again on your many personal successes.
Sir Ian Taylor responds:
Willie Jackson's response to my article calling him out on his "useless Māori" categorisation of those who might interpret the Māori world-view differently to his interpretation of the Māori world-view is in my view typical of him - full of bluster, threats and diversions. Despite his denials, I remember it as though it was yesterday. It wasn't funny then, and it's still not funny now, especially given his position as the Minister of Broadcasting and Media overseeing one of the biggest changes in our entire media landscape. That he felt it was appropriate to name current Radio New Zealand chair Dr Jim Mather as one of his references claiming that he never mentioned my lack of te reo at the meeting, over a decade ago, surely shows a total disrespect for any sense of governance around his pivotal role in the merger of Radio New Zealand and TVNZ.
* This story was edited at 2.20pm on October 3 to add Sir Ian Taylor's response.