Willie Jackson hits out at Mike Hosking for 'insulting' comments on Cyclone Gabrielle funding for Māori

Willie Jackson and Mike Hosking.
Willie Jackson and Mike Hosking. Photo credit: Newstalk ZB/Newshub Nation.

Labour MP Willie Jackson has hit out at Mike Hosking, accusing the Newstalk ZB host of personally attacking him over funding for Cyclone Gabrielle-affected Māori communities.

In a scathing Facebook post, the Māori Development Minister unleashed on Hosking for what he called an "exceptionally insulting diatribe" about the Government's $15 million relief package to support Māori communities devastated by the cyclone. 

Jackson began the post by saying Hosking had "attacked me personally".

He said Auckland-based Hosking was "a billion miles away from the reality of many Māori hurt by these catastrophic storms".

"His wealth and privilege make him blind to the hurt his comments cause and it allows him to mock the need many Māori have been left in," Jackson wrote.

"There are lots of welfare providers who look after many members of the community. This amount is specific for Māori because as Mike points out, while the rain is not racist, the history of this country has undeniably been racist against Māori, resulting in Māori being left in poverty. 

"Therefore, when a storm or crisis hits, it compounds the effects on the poorest, and often, Māori communities.  

"While the money will be specifically for Māori organisations, those organisations provide their welfare services for anyone in the community who needs them! No one is turned away because of the colour of their skin, which is what he is insinuating!"

During his breakfast radio show on Wednesday, Hosking asked why there were what he described as "race-based flood funds" after Cyclone Gabrielle. 

"Does the rain fall differently on Māori? Does a flood affect you differently depending on your race?"

Hosking argued this was "the absurdity we deal with".

"Yet again the Labour Māori caucus strikes with another of their inexplicable hand-outs based purely on race," he said on Newstalk ZB.

Jackson, the former Labour Māori caucus chair, said Hosking describing the funds as racist was "ugly politics at a time when we urgently need to work together". 

"I offer Mike Hosking the opportunity to come with me on a tour of marae damaged by the storms and see if he is still so glib with their suffering for his ratings."

It's not the first time Hosking has been criticised by Jackson, with the minister hitting out at the radio host in 2020 over what he described as a "rude" interview with then-PM Jacinda Ardern

NZME, Newstalk ZB's parent company, has since published Jackson's comments on the website of its flagship newspaper the NZ Herald.