Mike Hosking backtracks on assertion he no longer wants PM Jacinda Ardern on his show

  • 08/04/2021

Broadcaster Mike Hosking has backtracked on his assertion that he no longer wants the Prime Minister on his show. 

The Newstalk ZB Breakfast host interviewed Jacinda Ardern about the travel bubble and the shrinking of managed isolation and quarantine spaces on Wednesday. 

Following the interview, Hosking said he didn't want the Prime Minister to return as she "doesn't add anything". 

His comments were criticised by Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper. In a column for NZME, Soper said Hosking can't accuse the media of not doing its job if he refuses to interview the Prime Minister. 

Earlier in the programme, Hosking said the media was "asleep at the wheel" because of the lack of coverage about the reduction in MIQ spaces. 

And it seems Hosking agreed with the column, apologising to Soper on his show on Thursday morning. 

"Barry ruined my day yesterday," Hosking said. 

"There I was sitting down to a small plate of my favourite artichoke dips, french stick and an espresso when his voice penetrates the kitchen conversation with a mention of my name.

"He was addressing the interview with the Prime Minister, of course, but also comments I had made earlier in the programme yesterday about the media and MIQ and the shrinking of spaces available."

"'Why was the media asleep?' I asked. 'Why when the story was fed to them did they miss it? Why are so many in the media asleep at the wheel?' Now people like Barry don't take kindly to things like that obviously.

"But he did say - and this is why he deserves the apology - you can't be someone like me, banging on about the media not doing their job and then when you interview the Prime Minister, not want her back on the programme because she doesn't answer the questions - you can't have it both ways."

Hosking said the least he can do is interview the Prime Minister when he has the opportunity. 

"And Barry, of course, is right. I can't ban Ardern and leave her to others and then complain others aren't doing their job.

"The least I can do is do my part and have that part open to scrutiny. You can't criticise from the sidelines, you've got to be in the scrum with everyone else. 

"The life lesson here is the best argument is the argument of logic and Barry wins this one on logic. So Barry I am sorry - you are right."

Last month, Ardern cancelled her weekly interview with Hosking. At the time, her office said the change came after a review of her schedule. 

"The Prime Minister's schedule of media appearances has been reviewed and while it hasn't reduced overall, it has changed.

"The Prime Minister will no longer do a weekly slot specifically on the ZB morning show. However she, and all her ministers, will continue to appear on the show as and when issues arise."

Ardern said the decision 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." 

The weekly slot has been observed by New Zealand Prime Ministers for more than 30 years.