AN INVITATION to a public meeting to be hosted by Tony Windsor has highlighted an ongoing stoush between the independent MP and Inverell radio station 2NZ.
In a media release announcing the February meeting, Mr Windsor made special mention of the station, referring to it as Radio Nationals.
“Radio Nationals is the only media outlet in the New England that places more value on political posturing than the interests of its own community,” Mr Windsor said.
“A prime example of this is their long-running attacks on the one piece of infrastructure that can remove the disadvantages of distance for country people: the NBN (National Broadband Network).”
In a statement, 2NZ program director Gerry Taveira and journalist John Shaw said the station held no political bias.
They said Mr Windsor’s issue with the station stemmed from two polls it conducted in 2011 that found there was strong local resistance to the carbon tax.
In an interview with The Leader in March 2011 on the first poll, Mr Windsor said he questioned the professionalism of 2NZ and claimed it was “basically a National Party radio station”.
Yesterday Mr Windsor said his problem with 2NZ arose not from the polls, but because he believed it campaigned against policies that would benefit its community, including the carbon tax and the NBN.
“I think the radio station becoming an active participant in National Party politics has actually harmed the progression of the community,” Mr Windsor said.
He said there was a relationship between the National Party and the station, whose former long-time manager Greg Kachel became chief-of-staff to Nationals Senator John Williams.
Mr Taveira and Mr Shaw also said it was Mr Windsor’s decision to discontinue regular interviews on the station’s Friday Magazine segment.
“The last couple of times we conducted interviews I asked questions local people were asking, and he hung up on me,” Mr Shaw told The Leader.
He said the last time Mr Windsor spoke to him was on April 1, 2011, when Mr Shaw took offence to being accused of being a Nationals mouthpiece.
But the station had continued to run stories on Mr Windsor, he said, in the interests of balance.
Mr Windsor said he chose to no longer speak to 2NZ, labelling it a “waste of time” because it was only interested in criticisms or relaying what Senator Williams had said.
Mr Shaw was unsure whether the station would attend the meeting.