Mark Richardson defends video of Mongrel Mob's Harry Tam telling members not to vote National

The AM Show sportsreader Mark Richardson is defending lifetime honorary Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam after a video emerged showing him telling other members not to vote for National.

The video, which was shared by the National Party on Wednesday, shows Tam telling a group of people to make sure they vote. 

It's unclear when the video is from however he mentions an upcoming September election, suggesting it was filmed earlier in 2020. 

"We know that come September this year there is going to be this thing called the general election and we all know the leader of the National Party is ganging up on us. Can you see where I am getting at?" Tam asks. 

"All of a sudden we can turn into 20,000 to 30,000 votes, we are a lot more powerful than we care to think we are and I need you all to think about registering to vote because if you don't and that motherf**ker gets in, your life is going to be hell."

National used the video to once again take a shot at the Government over funding a Mongrel Mob associated meth rehabilitation programme run by Tam. 

Two weeks ago Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced $2.75 million would be given from the Proceeds of Crime seized by police to the Kahukura programme, run by Hard2Reach, which aims to address drug-seeking behaviour through a live-in marae in Waipawa.

According to the Hard2Reach website, a pilot for the programme will be led by the Chaindogs - a group of people who are Mongrel Mob affiliated. 

National has relentlessly criticised the Government over the funding. 

But it seems the Government has an unlikely ally with The AM Show sports reader pushing back against criticism of the video.  

"Strangely I don't see a major issue with that video," Richardson said on Thursday. "I don't see it as much different from me going around and telling people who share interests with me that we need to vote a certain way to avoid extra taxes on the things that we are investing in or have dear to us.

"I think you're entitled to tell the group that you feel you represent and campaign, as long as you're doing it off your own back, to vote a certain way because you think it will benefit your group."

Richardson said Tam has "every right" to express his opinion on who will best represent him. 

However, fill in host Ryan Bridge didn't agree, saying Kiwis deserve an explanation from Ardern over the video.