Willie Jackson defends calling Broadcasting Minister 'stupid', doubles-down on comments

Labour MP Willie Jackson has doubled-down on how he feels about Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee.  

Yesterday, the former Broadcasting Minister described Lee as "stupid", going on to say she "doesn't know what she is doing".  

It comes after a horror start to the year for the TV news industry, with Newshub's owner Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) on Wednesday confirming 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.    

On AM this morning, host Lloyd Burr asked Jackson if it was appropriate to call a Government minister stupid.  

"No, probably not," Jackson said, "a better description probably would've been hopeless, useless, incompetent". 

To which Lee's colleague and National Minister Erica Stanford said, "take one boot out and put another in". 

Stanford later said the statement was "what you'd come to expect from Willie", but it doesn't mean we should accept it.  

Jackson has fiercely criticised the Government's response to Newshub's closure, and job cuts at TVNZ.  

He has called on the Prime Minister to do more.  

"I was saddened because you try to find a way, you don't just give up and it's not just Melissa's fault, it's the whole Government's fault," Jackson said.  

"You've got a Prime Minister who is big on business, why can't you bring businesses together to try and keep this alive for a while".  

Stanford, who has appeared on AM's political panel for the past two years, said while the news was devastating, it isn't as simple as getting big businesses together.  

"It's not for the Prime Minister to start meddling in businesses and bring people together, he's the Prime Minister of the country, I don't expect him to be doing that".  

At a press conference in Auckland this morning, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said he wasn't planning on taking Melissa Lee's portfolios off her "at this point".  

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. 

Watch AM's Willie Jackson's latest comments above.