Mike Hosking reads on-air apology to John Tamihere after allegations of defamation

Broadcaster Mike Hosking has issued a public apology to Māori Party co-leader, John Tamihere, on behalf of Newstalk ZB.

It was alleged in Auckland High Court that material in an episode of Mike's Minute, broadcast on Newstalk ZB and published on the New Zealand Herald's website in December 2018, defamed Tamihere. 

The Newstalk ZB Breakfast host did not appear in court on Wednesday, but a pre-recorded apology by the broadcaster was aired on behalf of Newstalk ZB shortly after 7am. The statement was later published by both the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's websites, and was read out at the High Court in Auckland.

The alleged defamation relates to a private payment from Whānau Ora contractor, Te Pou Matakana, to its major shareholder, the National Urban Maori Authority (NUMA). Tamihere is the CEO of Te Whānau O Waipareira, the NUMA's founding member. 

The alleged defamation, broadcast on December 11, 2018, suggested the former MP had personally benefited from the payment.

"On 11 December, 2018, Newstalk ZB published an item concerning payments that had been made by the North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Te Pou Matakana. Te Pou Matakana had received funds from the Ministry of Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, and had paid that money out to its shareholders," Hosking said in the apology.

"Newstalk ZB accepts that Te Pou Matakana was entitled to receive the funds from Te Puni Kōkiri, was entitled to pay out the sums that it did to its shareholders, and that there was nothing improper about those payments.

"The way in which the item was worded could have been taken to mean that John Tamihere personally benefited from the payments. 

"Newstalk ZB accepts that John Tamihere did not benefit personally from the payments, and sincerely apologises to John Tamihere."

John Tamihere.
John Tamihere. Photo credit: Getty

Tamihere wouldn't disclose the details of the settlement, but said a significant donation had been made to the Māori Party campaign, courtesy of Hosking.

Tamihere, who was an MP from 1999 to 2005, ran unsuccessfully for Auckland mayor in the 2019 election.