Okay, let's do a quick exercise. Grab yourself a paper and pen, and write down all the useful things on which the Ministry of Maori Affairs, aka Te Puni Kokiri, spends around $200 million of your money.
Finished? Now, let’s compare notes. Does your list look anything like mine:
So given what it does waste your money on, isn’t it better that it spends $3 million of your money on something you’d actually like to watch, like the Rugby World Cup on Maori TV, instead of what it might otherwise waste your money on?
Frankly, I’d be more interested in people whinging about that money being spent to show the World Cup if I heard them complaining about all such taxpayer-funded wastage. Like Te Puni Kokiri itself. Or taxpayer-funded broadcasting.
And I’d be more interested in their complaining about their “right” to watch the World Cup on free-air TV if they were more interested in the actual right here: of taxpayers to keep their own money. Which is the point my colleague Mr Watkins makes at his SunLive blog today:
“John Key said that Te Puni Kokiri are allowed to spend my money on a broadcasting rights bid. According to this, whether you and I like rugby or not, I and you have to pay for it anyway.
“Worse than that though is what Key thinks constitutes a ‘right.’ Says that nice Mr Key, ‘It is our view that every Kiwi has a right to watch the main games of the Rugby World Cup for free.’ WTF?!? A ‘right’ to free rugby on T.V.! What Key forgot to mention is that in waving his ‘rights-wand’ and bestowing rights on people to watch rugby for free, he has to breach other people’s real right to keep their own hard-earned money; but hey what’s the right to property in comparison to a game of kick & clap eh...do we get free beer too?”
Taking your money to pay for something you wouldn’t pay for voluntarily is wrong. And it’s pretty damn clear you wouldn’t spend your money on this so-called “right,” since the government has to take your money by force to make you pony up for it.
But how does it make any difference down which particular state-funded black hole it’s poured? TVNZ and TV3 show programmes funded by your taxes. Maori TV is funded by your taxes. Why complain about one but not the other?