Many Maori Television staff will start the Christmas break
with an extra $500 in their pockets at a cost of $78,000 to
the taxpayer-funded station.
The station's chief executive, Jim Mather, said the decision
to award 156 staff the extra payment was "a statement of
appreciation" and made smart business sense despite figures
released to the Herald showing viewership ratings are poor.
"What it does is it grows a strong sense of commitment to our
organisation and our achievement and for many people it's a
sense that their efforts are being valued," he said.
"In a business sense what that does is it has a lot more
pragmatic benefits that far outweigh the investment that has
Mr Mather said the station had paid a standard Christmas
bonus of $500 in the past five years, although last year
about 150 staff were paid $1000 because of the extra work
around the Rugby World Cup.
He said staff not receiving the end-of-year sweetener
included those in the $100,000-plus pay bracket and the
executive team, whose performance bonuses are paid in July.
Asked if he thought the payments were a good look during
austere times, Mr Mather said: "It's about doing the right
"Our staff are paid below market rates, we have a low staff
turnover and we have a very stable, committed workforce ... I
have a view that our staff should also have the opportunity
to have their efforts recognised.
"I can see how it creates some negative perceptions but I
think it is a smart business decision for Maori Television to
be making and I do think our people do deserve its efforts to
Maori TV has about 204,000 viewers a day on average, or 0.6
per cent of those aged 5 years and over watching television
between 3pm and midnight.
TV One has a 25.2 per cent audience share and TV3 has 14.9
Maori Television receives $16.6 million in direct state
funding and $16.1 million from Te Mangai Paho.
It also receives about $20 million via the Te Mangai Paho
contestable fund, which is paid directly to independent
The station reported a surplus of $775,000 for the last
financial year to June 30.
In the money
$78k pot for Maori TV staff bonuses
$500 bonus to majority of staff
$775kfunding surplus for station last year
- James Ihaka, New Zealand Herald