Māori TV head of news resigns after restructure plans

The head of News and Current Affairs at Māori Television has resigned, but the network says it has nothing to do with the proposed restructure.

At a lunchtime hui on Tuesday staff were consulted over potential job losses.

E tū union coordinator Joe Gallagher said job losses would affect operational staff and senior management support roles. It says this will mean the loss of 19 jobs, shrinking the size of its management team and halting plans to build a second studio.

RNZ understands the Head of News and Current Affairs, Maramena Roderick, has also resigned.

Mr Gallagher said the cut to a second studio was the biggest blow and could potentially affect journalist positions in the future.

“There’s some pretty agitated people. I think particularly when your role is being disestablished and you have to potentially go through a process to either re-apply for it or go onto the market, people are pretty stressed by it.”

In a statement, Māori Television said a “strategic refresh” would help better meet the needs of its audiences.

But Mr Gallagher believed the network’s finances were a struggle.

Māori Television has not had an increase in production funding from Māori broadcasting funding agency, Te Māngai Paho, since 2004.

Of the $35 million it receives every year, $16 million is administered through Te Māngai Paho.

“I think it’s pretty tough. I think they put a lot of money into moving from New Market to East Tamaki, and it is a pretty decked out building and it’s a challenging environment,” Mr Gallagher said.

“I think they’ve got a hole and obviously that’s one of the reasons why they’re not going to put this next studio in because that would just add additional cost that I don’t think they have.”

In a statement, Māori Television said it operated in a highly competitive and dynamic digital media environment.

“We have been working with staff over recent months to look at how we can do things better. Today marks the first step forward in implementing our strategic refresh.”

It currently has 173 full-time employees.

This story originally appeared on Radio New Zealand.

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