National, Labour scuttle “Free to Air” national sport

If we collectively contribute towards opera, ballet and Te papa, why can’t we do so for iconic national sport such as All Black games?

Sports fans aren’t going to be able to watch major events live on free-to-air television, despite the best efforts of NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell drafted the member’s bill to amend the Broadcasting Act and on Wednesday night it came up for its first reading.

Parliament adjourned just before a vote was taken, but with National and Labour opposing it there’s no doubt about the outcome – it will be heavily defeated.

“This is important, it’s about treating all New Zealanders fairly and equally,” Mr Mitchell said when he kicked off the first reading debate.

“It’s about putting the rights of Kiwis above those of the multinationals… how can any party in its right mind say this isn’t good for New Zealanders?”

Mr Mitchell said it cost about $1000 a year to watch All Black Tests and other big matches on Sky Sport, and many people couldn’t afford it.

Government MPs said the bill was “populist pandering”.

“Nothing is free, someone has to pay for it,” said Brett Hudson.

“Some organisation is going to have to invest in and assemble a whole lot of equipment – are we going to dig into taxpayer money?”

Labour’s Trevor Mallard said there was no way the bill could pass.

“No government is going to take $125 million a year off sport, that comes from broadcasting rights,” he said.

Trevor doesn’t care.  He’s been on the free ticket list for decades.

But he misses the point.  If we can throw millions at Rio Tinto, and hundreds of mils at Sky City, then the government doesn’t have the high ground denying nationally significant sport to go to all the people, and not just those who can afford it.

Not that I think they should, I just don’t think there is much consistency in the reasoning.

So, NZ First win another one.  Some voters will resent National and Labour for standing in the way of Free Sport.


– NZN via Yahoo! News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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