Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defends dropping weekly interview slot with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the decision to drop her weekly interview slot on Mike Hosking's Newstalk ZB radio show was based on her desire to branch out more. 

"People get their news from multiple sources, and when I look around at whether or not I'm trying to reach people where they are, I think I could do a better job, and so that factored into some of my thinking," she said on Monday. 

The Prime Minister has come under fire for cancelling the weekly slot, with National leader Judith Collins describing it as "arrogant" and ACT leader David Seymour saying it "joins a long list of hubristic moves" by the Government. 

Collins said it looks to be a Government "trend" after Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson recently cancelled his weekly slot on Magic Talk with Peter Williams after he was asked about 'The Great Reset', a narrative adopted by conspiracy theorists. 

Ardern argues she's available regularly throughout the week when she does media stand-ups. She will also be available for interviews on Newstalk ZB when there are issues of "national significance" to comment on. 

"The first thing I'd say is this decision was taken and communicated I think roughly four weeks ago," Ardern said at her post-Cabinet press conference. 

"The reason it hasn't been noticed perhaps until now is because I have appeared on two occasions since then and that's because we've said look, where there are issues of national significance I will still be on Mike's ZB show," she added.

"But no one can do everything. No one could do every single slot that's available. What I have tried to do is make sure that I get as much spread as I can."

Ardern said listeners of Newstalk ZB - owned by NZME, the same owner as the New Zealand Herald - will still hear from her regularly. 

"If we look at the last two weeks, I've done 21 interviews; I've done eight press conferences and stand-ups. I don't think any of you would say you missed seeing me - you see me frequently. I am definitely available," she told reporters. 

"I don't think anyone would argue that I'm not available, that I'm not able to be questioned on issues of the day, but I do want to do a better job of reaching into some other corners where people might not get information."

Ardern said dropping her Hosking interview slot is not about doing more Facebook Lives. 

"This is not that we are substituting any time with social media. I'm not intending to change-up what I do there at all, but I am intending to try and reach into different media outlets and a few different forms of media, radio, TV and other varieties that I haven't done before."

Mihingarangi Forbes, host of Three's The Hui, suggested it could be a good thing that the Prime Minister's media schedule has been revised, so she can be more assessable to other media outlets.  

"It's about time the Government rearrange the Media Diary," Forbes wrote on Twitter. "A bit of equality for shows like The Hui, Marae, Te Ao, [Newshub] Nation... we'd be lucky to have the PM twice a year."