Prime Minister Christopher Luxon defends embattled Media Minister Melissa Lee, says she'll keep her portfolio

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has backed his embattled Media and Communication Minister Melissa Lee, saying he's not planning on taking her portfolios off her "at this point".

Lee has come under heavy criticism this week accused of being "bereft of any ideas" amid the closure of Newshub and major cutbacks in news programming at TVNZ. 

On Thursday, Labour MP and former broadcast minister Willie Jackson called Lee "stupid" and said she "doesn't know what she's doing." 

But the Prime Minister has now defended her. 

After being asked if he was looking at taking her portfolios off her, Luxon said "no, not at this point. No, not at all".

"What I'd say to you is, you know what, she's working hard at what the Government will continue to work hard at [which is] what can we do to support and enable innovation and evolution to happen for those individual media companies," said Luxon. 

"They may be things more at the margins, but how do we get the settings right so those companies can't actually do the very best that they can to innovate and adjust to their consumers?" 

Newshub's owner Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) on Wednesday confirmed plans to close its entire news operation, which will see nearly 300 people lose their jobs.     

On the same day, TVNZ revealed it was axing the current affairs programme Sunday along with 1 News' Midday and Tonight bulletins. The iconic consumer affairs programme Fair Go is also being cancelled.    

Lee has said she's been working on a solution with the sector since she became the Broadcasting Minister in November.  

It's reported that a Cabinet paper she has produced has not reached the Cabinet table, as it's still on the desk of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. 

Luxon on Friday refused to answer questions about when the Cabinet paper was sent to National's coalition parties. 

"I'm just not going to be discussing that," he said.

"I just say to you is we are working to make sure that if there's anything that we can do to change the settings that actually enables individual companies to lead for the changes they need to make then that's good. And I'm up for entertaining different thoughts around that." 

On Thursday, Lee said there is a process underway and she will comment when it is complete.   

"The commercial decisions that were made by Warner Bros and TVNZ is for them to answer. What I can say is I am focused on trying to support the industry by innovating and...  modernising."  

Earlier, in the House, she offered assurances the sector "can have confidence in the Government who... listen to the people".