Willie Jackson slams Melissa Lee over comments about Newshub closure

Willie Jackson is slamming Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee following her comments about Newshub's closure.   

Warner Bros Discovery, which own Newshub, confirmed on Wednesday the news service would close at the end of June.   

Lee was questioned by journalists in Parliament after news broke and the Broadcasting Minister didn't seem concerned when asked if she was worried about there being only one choice for television news in New Zealand. She mentioned there was Sky as an option and "a whole lot of other media about".  

AM attempted to get Lee on the show on Thursday morning but she didn't respond to emails. 

Jackson, who was the former Broadcasting Minister under the last Labour Government, said it was a bad look for Lee when deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who's been one of the mainstream media's biggest critics, showed more empathy than her.  

"Wasn't it strange, Winston [Peters] actually made more sense than the Broadcasting Minister... it was it was such a shock and good on Winston, good on him for coming out and showing some support, showing some empathy," Jackson told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.   

He added Lee came out in a "total waffle about Sky TV, I don't know what planet this minister is on at the moment". 

"But it does show you that this is a Government [that] don't care about broadcasting," he said. "There's nothing in the manifesto about it.   

"There's nothing in their first 100 days. Melissa Lee is not doing any interviews this morning and it shows you if you're not a gun lobbyist or tobacco lobbyist, they're not interested."   

Questions then turned to whether Jackson thought he did enough during his tenure as Broadcast Minister to help the sector.   

"I never think we do enough but I know we've done a hell of a lot more than any other Government in the last generation," he replied.   

"In terms of Facebook and Google, I've got a Fair Digital Bargaining Bill that I put up that Melissa Lee opposes, and that would put $60 million back into the market." 

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