NZ Election 2020: Advance NZ fails in legal action to stop Newshub Nation debate airing without its inclusion

The debate will be aired as planned on October 3.
The debate will be aired as planned on October 3. Photo credit: YouTube / Getty.

Advance NZ's leaders have failed in their urgent legal efforts to stop Newshub Nation airing an upcoming debate without the party's inclusion.

Jami-Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika, the Advance NZ co-leaders, earlier this week filed an urgent interlocutory injunction application in the Auckland High Court against Mediaworks after the party wasn't to be included in Newshub Nations' multi-party "Powerbrokers’ Debate".

The debate will include Act's David Seymour, the Greens' Marama Davidson, New Zealand First's Winston Peters, and the Maori Party's John Tamihere.

Ross warned not including the party would cause it "serious harm" and said that it was important for Kiwis to hear from a range of political parties ahead of the election. 

Mediaworks, however, said its criteria for participation has been in place since July and is leaders of parties that have won seats in the last two parliamentary terms.

Justice Walker considered whether there is a "prima facie case that Mediaworks' criterion is unreasonable and arbitrary or irrational (or its application is so)".

She ultimately concluded that Advance NZ "has not persuaded me that there is a prima facie case that the criterion applied by MediaWorks is unreasonable or arbitrary".

"Even if the threshold was reached, I am not persuaded that the balance of convenience favours the grant of interim relief."

The interim injunction was therefore declined.

A Mediaworks spokesperson said: "We're happy with the outcome. The Newshub Nation Powerbrokers debate will go ahead as planned and air October 3 at 9:25am on Three".

Ross responded to the decision by calling it "disappointing" for Kiwis deserving to "hear a range of ideas and perspectives in the lead up to the election".

The full judgement can be found here.