Labour don't want Hosking

mike-hosking-wideEvery election, TV3 and TVNZ conduct a series of live debates with the leaders. We’ve been along to observe and provide commentary and they’re fascinating to watch. With most of these debates, the audiences are supposed to be vetted to ensure they are real undecided voters rather than being stacked with one particular political leaning. Often, this isn’t the case and those who do end up in the audience have some political affiliation. When they get vocal, it’s obvious.

Labour, however, are now concerned about this years debates as TVNZ have named Mike Hosking as their moderator.

The Labour Party is in a standoff with TVNZ over plans to use presenter Mike Hosking to moderate the live televised leaders’ debates.

The state broadcaster is refusing to budge, declaring: “Mike is our man.”

Leader David Cunliffe’s inner circle believes the Seven Sharp host is too close to National and has compiled a dossier of examples.

It includes Hosking dismissing Cunliffe as a “moron” – and his endorsement of Prime Minister John Key before a major political speech last year.

A Labour source said that, despite protestations, the party was unlikely to pull out of the two scheduled TVNZ debates. “When we heard it was Hosking the initial reaction was ‘Are you f…ing joking?’ But we are trying to get it changed. We are not making a hullabaloo about nothing, we’d rather they get someone else.”

I really don’t understand this. While it’s fairly safe to assume that Hosking doesn’t swing left, looking at the polls, neither do the majority of voters. Isn’t the whole point of these debates to change people’s minds and convince them to tick a red box?

Senior Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was not part of the negotiations, but joked: “If it’s true, we’d rather have Jeremy Wells as Mike Hosking, than Mike Hosking.”

Comedian Wells performs a popular sketch mimicking Hosking on Radio Hauraki’s breakfast show.

Last night Hosking was unaware of the row. “Oh, I love it,” he said. “I’ve called everyone a moron. This has got nothing to do with me . . . I don’t want to get involved, I didn’t have a clue, nor does it bother me.

If Hosking doesn’t give Labour a fair go at answering questions then that will be an issue but I recall from last time that there were discussions regularly between the producers and Guyon Espiner, who was moderating last election, about the number of minutes John Key and Phil Goff had had on screen. I can’t imagine it being any different this time.

It is a debate between the Prime Minister and the man who would be and the two will win the debate based on their individual performances.

We certainly don’t hear anyone complaining that John Campbell is moderating TV3’s debate. In any case, if a moderator were to show favour, you be assured there would be backlash.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Tania

    I wouldn’t even agree to do an interview with Hosking if I was ever asked – he’s a jumped up little p*** who stutters, stumbles over his words, says things presumably for the shock value, and just leaves a foul taste in my mouth. There are WAY better choices out there; TVNZ are probably just trying to justify the fact they pay him substantially for doing what, exactly? – Host a half hour bit-show which is a giggle a moment for him and his bimbo offsider, and a chance to share with their viewers how many cars he has, what he drives, etc.? Pass me a bucket.

    Newsland would be perfect if they could clone Mike McRoberts.

    • Jeseta

      I love this comment, you are so right!

      • jake

        NO SHES NOT

        • Jeseta

          ooooh testy….

        • Preston

          Thanks for that mike

    • Andrew

      you must watch seven sharp or listen to him on ZB to know that stutters or goes on about cars who cares people love him the ratings show that. and no need to use words like P*** young people look at this site to.

      • Jeseta

        You do realise Tania censored herself, hence the asterisks? The young people are safe….

      • K

        I like Hosking about as much as Tania…I watch a bit of Seven Sharp though because not everything is about him..despite how much he tries.
        Some of the stories interest me and thankfully he doesn’t feature.

  • Danny TV Professional

    Just don’t think Mike Hosking is at all journalist in his approach nor has the skills to run an unbiased debate. Too much of a populist and he’s allowed his own political bias to be expressed far too often to be a credible candidate. He’s just Paul Henry with a bit charm, an queasy grin and a mutton-dressed-as-lamb haircut. John Campbell has remained neutral in his approach. The fact that Hosking “isn’t bothered” belittles the gravity of the choice facing Kiwi voters and TVNZ and plays right in to National’s hands. NZ so needs a Jeremy Paxman!

  • Danny TV Professional

    Interesting to see how he covers the Gerry Brownlee airport story tonight…

  • K

    I did wonder who they could get to replace Hosking if they had to..Greg Boyed would be quite good.

  • aaronimpact

    I can’t stand him (Hosking). I can’t trust someone who has been having a mid-life crisis for over ten years.

  • donr1x

    Who would want Mike as a TV show chairman.

    He has already made his views known over Labour… the Herald and scoffing on 7 sharp……

    A neutral umpire is what is needed.

  • Jock Wellingtoni

    Both Hoskin and Henry are just appalling interviewers, self-grandising has-beens and never-weres. Did you see Hoskings “interview” with Joyce and Hager, appalling, in fact utterly bizarre. The standards of TVNZ1 is the pits but perhaps the nation deserves what it gets, such as John Key.