Winston Peters offers political support to MediaWorks TV

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has offered political support to Three following his scathing comments about the sale of MediaWorks' TV arm.

Appearing on Monday's episode of The Project, the New Zealand First leader reiterated he is "seriously sorry" about his comments at the party's annual convention in Christchurch on Saturday, which included a harsh "good riddance" to certain MediaWorks staff.

Peters changed his tune on Monday, offering his apologies to the "husbands, wives and children" included in the 520 jobs on the line following Friday's sale announcement. 

"There's a very sad situation... but I said there was the odd one where it was good riddance," Peters told The Project.

The NZ First leader also offered support to the TV station. 

"Let me tell you right now, tonight, that we as a political party are not going to leave this scene and leave it like it is. If we can possibly help, we will.

"It is 500 jobs... it is a whole lot of talent and years and years of building up this utility so to speak... we’ve always been interested in workers and staff and the real down to earth things in life."

However, Peters couldn't help but address his ongoing war of words with The AM Show co-host Mark Richardson. 

Earlier on Monday, Peters labelled the sports presenter "gutless" after Richardson accused the politician of lacking "basic human respect" in a heated segment of The AM Show.

Mark Richardson and Winston Peters.
Mark Richardson and Winston Peters. Photo credit: The AM Show / File

"To the Richardsons of this world... a guy you've had on your show... he's been dumping all over me, calling me 'white pus' and 'cancer' and what have you... it's all defamatory. He knows what he's done," Peters told The Project.

"All I said was, 'For those people, darn good riddance... you know why they call him [Richardson] 'Rigor'? Because he was so slow at the bat. Like Rigor Mortis."

Co-host Kanoa Lloyd then intervened, urging the two men to put aside their ongoing differences.

"Do you reckon you could just choose to both be the grown-ups that you are and treat each other respectfully from here on in?" she asked Peters. 

"Because those comments did have a real effect on the hundreds and hundreds of people that are threatened with the sale of this company, worried about how to get the bills paid in the future."

Peters said he "completely understands".

"I can recall in 2008 a five-month attack on New Zealand First and Winston Peters. I had staff crying... I understand that...all I'm saying is things are swings and roundabouts so to speak," he argued.

"To The Project, a fantastic broadcasting publication... we're not going to walk away from it all.

"All I'm saying is to the odd person, when you attack someone... don't expect to get away with it. I have been attacked."