An influx of "bad" Kiwi television across the ditch this
summer has been slammed by an Australian writer who reckons
he's had enough.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Munro said
Australian channels were flooding the airwaves with New
Zealand shows during the non-ratings holiday period.
He said there were "more bad Kiwi programmes on the box than
you could poke a sheep at" - citing the likes of New Zealand
reality show Wild Vets, fantasy series The Almighty
Johnsons and drama series The Cult.
"Watching Australian television during the non-ratings period
is like waking up in Whakatane, Waipu, Waikikamukau or any
other patently made-up place in New Zealand," Munro said.
The transtasman imports on Australia's Channel Seven include
The Cult and Coastwatch - a show about
"fusheries" officers, according to Munro.
Over on Channel Ten, there's The Almighty Johnsons and
psychic crime investigation show Sensing Murder.
Munro puts the Kiwi influx down to the 55 per cent Australian
content quota that commercial television networks have to
fulfil between 6am and midnight.
Under a transtasman trade agreement, New Zealand-made shows
count as local Australian content.
More than a quarter of all "Australian" dramas aired on Ten
in 2011 were from New Zealand, while Seven aired many Kiwi
documentary series including Border Patrol.
Munro reckons most of them are worse than the shows made in
Australia - the country whose most famous television export
is the long-running weekday soap Neighbours.
"With the exception of well-received shows such as
Outrageous Fortune, most are poor cousins of genuine
Australian programming," he wrote.
"The networks save up such programmes for the non-ratings
period, when they don't seem to care that some locals are
still watching TV. So we might be on the beach in Bondi but
in TV land we're wearing jandals and packing Steinlagers in
our chilly bins."
Faced with a choice between Shortland Street and
Australian reality-drama series The Shire, Munro said
he would "choose the genuine Aussie show every time".
"It's bad television, but at least it's our bad television."
He may not like Kiwi telly but, in a rare concession, Munro
does give credit where credit is due.
"They gave us Russell Crowe, Split Enz, Phar Lap and
pavlova," he writes. "And in return we gave their long-term
unemployed access to our generous welfare system."