ACT's David Seymour lashes out at 'escalating arrogance' of Jacinda Ardern dumping weekly talk with Mike Hosking

Mike Hosking, Jacinda Ardern, and David Seymour.
Mike Hosking, Jacinda Ardern, and David Seymour. Photo credit: File/Getty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dumping her weekly interview with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking shows the "escalating arrogance" of the Government, ACT leader David Seymour says.

"It joins a long list of increasingly hubristic moves from the Prime Minister and her Government," Seymour said in a statement on Monday.

His comments come after National leader Judith Collins also criticised the move, accusing Ardern of not liking "hard questions".

The Prime Minister's office confirmed to Newshub on Monday she would no longer partake in her weekly slot with Hosking after a review of her media schedule. "When issues arise", however, Ardern's office said she would be available.

Seymour said it looks to be Government "arrogance" and is getting in the way of problem-solving.

"We're seeing it in the response to COVID-19 and other important areas like law and order, where the Government isn’t prepared to adopt a culture of continuous improvement and shuts down scrutiny at every turn.

"Jacinda Ardern will ultimately regret this escalating arrogance, the latest example being cancelling her weekly discussion with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

"It joins a long list of increasingly hubristic moves from the Prime Minister and her Government."

Seymour said Ardern was avoiding answering questions by "de-platforming" herself from Newstalk ZB. That, along with the Prime Minister's dispute with a KFC worker who tested positive for COVID-19 and went to work, made up "a rap sheet of high-handed, elitist behaviour from a group of ministers who are showing themselves to be out of touch with the people that put them in the Beehive". 

"Recent cases are Jacinda Ardern letting the mask slip and attacking members of the south Auckland COVID-19 cluster, and then running for cover in the days following to avoid scrutiny from the media.

"You can't paint yourself as a paragon of democratic virtue and then not walk the talk - not if you want to stay in favour with voters."

Often critical of the Government, Hosking said late last year people "misunderstand" his relationship with Ardern and despite often fiery interviews, he actually "likes her a lot". 

"It's our work," Hosking said in December. "It's what we do. There's nothing personal in it."

But the radio host said on Monday Ardern was "running for the hills" and is "over being held to account".

National's push for COVID-19 outbreak investigation rejected

Collins on Sunday called for an investigation into the Auckland February COVID-19 cluster,  particularly after the KFC worker known as Case L claimed she didn't receive clear advice to self-isolate.

But Ardern told The AM Show on Monday she hadn't changed her position on the matter.

"I've seen the correspondence that went out," she told host Duncan Garner.  

"We reflect after every outbreak or issue that we encounter. We always go back and look at what the lessons learned might be."

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told RNZ while the Government would review some of its messaging, a full investigation into the outbreak wasn't necessary.