Christopher Luxon not spoken to David Seymour about comments on TVNZ reporter Benedict Collins

  • 08/03/2024

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has not spoken to ACT leader David Seymour regarding comments he made about a TVNZ reporter. 

Seymour, Luxon's Coalition partner, hit out at journalist Benedict Collins earlier this week while discussing potential job cuts at the state broadcaster. 

"I saw a report on 1News, Benedict Collins grinning down the camera about Chris Luxon's apartment costs," Seymour told Newstalk ZB. 

The Associate Finance Minister went on to say these were the people who "have spent years celebrating and dancing at every slip a politician makes... and, all of a sudden, they say, 'Oh but when we have a bad day you've got to be kind to us.'" 

Seymour told ZB it showed the media had "a delightful lack of self-awareness and immaturity". 

Luxon was asked about Seymour's comments on Friday and whether he'd spoken to his Coalition partner. 

"Look, I haven't but, again, I just want to acknowledge it's a pretty unsettling time for TVNZ employees," Luxon said of the state broadcaster, which announced on Friday it was axing long-running shows including Sunday and Fair Go. 

Luxon told reporters said TVNZ was dealing with "the reality that it has". 

"As we're seeing in media companies and media organisations all around the world... it's a pretty tough time," he said. 

"What's fundamentally happening is structural change in that sector. 

"Consumers are consuming their media in very different ways than they have traditionally done so." 

As part of TVNZ's restructuring, 1 News' Midday and Tonight bulletins would also go - while youth site Re: would lose half its staff. 

Staff were told about the proposal in meetings on Friday but the union has said it's planning to fight back. 

"A healthy democracy relies on a healthy 'fourth estate.' Today's cuts at TVNZ hot on the heels of Newshub's imminent demise are another hammer blow," Labour leader Chris Hipkins said. 

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark described TVNZ's proposed cuts as "disgraceful". 

"Is this like serving up the Washington Monument for sacrifice hoping for rescue? How about management costs?" 

Luxon noted media organisations weren't alone when it came to job losses. 

Christopher Luxon.
Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: Newshub.

"We've met many other companies and organisations in many other sectors that have also had to lay off workers," he said. 

"That's why we're working so hard on the root causes of taking inflation down; if we get inflation down, we get interest rates down, businesses can borrow and invest and grow the economy and, therefore, keep people in employment."