The Hosking petition

There has already been discussion here about the petition directed at TVNZ to ‘GET RID OF HOSKING’.

I don’t like watching Mike Hosking on Seven Sharp so I hardly ever watch him or any of the show.

Anyone has a right to start up a petition about anything they choose, but I think that campaigns to try and force television presenters out of their jobs is stupid. If I thought it might be an effective way to shut down voices that people didn’t like I would condemn it as anti-free speech.

But the petition is just as likely to boost interest in Seven Sharp and Hosking so he and TVNZ may actually benefit.

Petitioning Minster of Broadcasting NZ Hon Amy Adams MP and 3 others

Get Rid of Hosking

GET RID OF HOSKING. [ It is our opinion ] TVNZ broadcaster Mike Hosking is an offensive and thoughtless media personality who continues to arrogantly and ignorantly disregard the struggles of everyday New Zealander’s. Hosking’s attitude and comments continuously cause offense, upset and disdain to reasonable and innocent people ; both viewers and non-viewers of TVNZ. Supporters of GET RID OF HOSKING expect that TVNZ acts as a responsible and mature public broadcaster and respects this request from thousands of New Zealanders – That is –  We no longer wish to see or hear any more from Hosking on our TV screens.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Minster of Broadcasting NZ
    Hon Amy Adams MP
  • TVNZ
    Kevin Kenrick CEO and Jeff Latch Director of Content TVNZ
  • Broadcasting Standards Authority
    Broadcasting Standards Authority
  • ASB BANK Executive General Manager Marketing & Communications at ASB
    ASB BANK – Roger Beaumont

There are currently 18,115 supporters.

I guess it’s ok that the petition is aimed at TVNZ. It’s up to them whether they take any notice of it.

Although it depends on to what extent pressure is put on TVNZ to dump a presenter. If it goes to the extent of a campaign to boycott TVNZ I would be concerned.

A similar campaign was waged against TV3 over their axing of John Campbell. That appeared to affect their ratings, which in turn could impact on their viability.

I would be disturbed if a TV company or public broadcaster was shut down because of campaigns against them. This would significantly reduce options for free speech.

Why has the Minister been included? I would be appalled if a Minister intervened in TVNZ decisions on how presents their shows.

Why is the Broadcasting Standards Authority included? I would be appalled if they tried to tell TVNZ who they should or shouldn’t have as presenters.

The ANZ Bank being included has an insidious angle. Attacking a major sponsor could potentially have a significant effect on the financial viability of part of TVNZ’s operation.

A couple of contrasting blog views on this.

Kiwiblog: The haters of freedom of speech

I’m tempted to call these people cultural fascists.

First of all do they really think the bloody Government should decide who is and is not allowed to appear on television as a broadcaster?

Secondly they seem to hate views they disagree with, and want Hosking gone because he says things they don’t like.

I think NZ is better when it has diversity of views on air – I think it is good both Hosking and Campbell are broadcasters.

But these cultural fascists hate views that are not their own, and think the Government should decide who is allowed to be on air. They can get f****d.

The Standard: Dirty Politics Farrar and freedom of speech

In another fine example of the Streisand effect, poor wee Dirty Politics Farrar doesn’t like it.

Not being one for self-reflection, DPF hates views that are not his own and thinks they shouldn’t be expressed. Or perhaps he just doesn’t understand what free speech is.

It’s good that both Farrar and ‘Natwatch’ have the freedom to speak about this as they see fit.

Should Mike Hosking be shut up because many of us don’t like what he says? I don’t think so.

Who is Dan Wayman? He is a lawyer, sometimes from Wellington. Stuff has some information on him and his motives:

Wayman, who describes himself as a New Zealand-enrolled barrister-solicitor who divides his time between New Zealand and Shanghai, where he works at the British Consulate, says he started the petition because he “just felt something needed to be done really”.

“[Hosking’s] socially irresponsible comments are damaging to the New Zealand public, and especially as the face of the national broadcaster in the 7pm timeslot, being a family show, I think it’s harmful for the next generation to receive those types of sentiments from Mr Hosking.”

Seven Sharp is a family show? I can’t imagine that many young people would watch it. An increasing number of young people watch little or no broadcast television.

Wayman said comments made by Hosking over the crowdfunding purchase of the Awaroa beach and over the New Zealand flag debate as examples of why the broadcaster should be removed from TVNZ.

Wayman said: “It’s the constant lack of empathy and dismissive comments of New Zealanders struggling, even following stories on Seven Sharp – he just does not get it, and I think it’s harmful.”

“The ultimate goal is to have a more appropriate face on the national broadcaster in the 7pm slot,” he says. “That’s the ultimate goal. I’m not worried about his radio career, but I think the platform that he’s got (with Seven Sharp) – he’s not the right person for that platform.”

TVNZ said:

“We welcome feedback on our programmes, which we get in the form of daily audience ratings, quantitative and qualitative market research, and direct feedback from viewers. Given we engage with around 2.5 million New Zealanders per day, we typically get a broad range of views expressed about our on-air and online content. There are a number of viewing options.Seven Sharp is the most watched show at 7pm.”

There are a number of viewing and doing options at 7 pm Dan. As a lawyer don’t you value free choice and free speech?

Q+A: Everest, housing and Labour-Greens

On Q+A this morning at 9 am:


With immigration running at record highs, is there too much pressure on housing, health and schools?

Whena Owen investigates whether NZ is really benefiting from the big growth in our population.

Labour-Green MoU

Labour and the Greens have pledged to work together to change the Government – but what kind of commitment is it?

Katie Bradford asks Labour leader Andrew Little, Green co-leader James Shaw and NZ First leader Winston Peters whether their parties can work together.

Mount Everest

The Everest climbing season is underway with record numbers of mountaineers expected to attempt the summit.

Jessica Mutch speaks to Tenzing Norgay’s son, Norbu, about the pressure on Sherpas to get their paying clients to the top.

Cannabis Party versus Peter Dunne

Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford has taken issue with things Peter Dunne said on Q & A on Sunday – in fact he claims Dunne lied.

Dunne and UIC ‘misleading the public’

The Cannabis Party is accusing Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne of misleading the public over medical cannabis.

Dunne told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that although “we talk about medicinal cannabis, actually there’s no such thing”.

Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford said Dunne was lying when he claimed that raw cannabis was not medicinal unless it was packaged into a pharmaceutical product.

“In 23 States of the US they have legalised medical cannabis in its raw form, without the need for any involvement from the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in keeping medical cannabis illegal,” Crawford said.

“Peter Dunne has deliberately deceived the New Zealand public when he claimed that raw cannabis was not medicinal. In reality around 40% of New Zealand’s cannabis users are using it for medical reasons. Even when smoked it has medicinal benefits.”

The Cannabis Party are calling for patients and their caregivers to be able to form non-profit organisations to grow and dispense medical cannabis in New Zealand, without all the delays and costs involved with clinical trials.

“Dunne is simply a glove puppet of the pharmaceutical lobby, he has not softened his stance one bit regarding the medical use of cannabis in its natural form,” Crawford said.

The Cannabis Party has denied that it wants to use the medical cannabis issue as a backdoor for recreational use.

“The party wants medical cannabis in its natural form available now so that thousands of patients with hundreds of illnesses can find some relief,” Crawford said.

“Dunne and United in Compassion have muddied the waters with misinformation that is preventing meaningful dialogue around the medical cannabis laws.”

TVNZ press release of the interview with Dunne:

Health Minister open to medicinal marijuana

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne told TVOne’s Q+A programme that he’s open to the possibilities cannabis based medicines offer.

“I think it would be a really good thing if we could get clinical trials in New Zealand, because that way we can work through exactly what the formulations might be, what the product should look like and who the patients who it will benefit could be, because at the moment we’ve got very general talk. We talk about medicinal cannabis. Actually, there’s no such thing. There’s medicinal cannabis products. And I think it would be very, very good to get some much more specific and scientific evidence about the efficacy before we can make decisions,” said Mr Dunne.

Both Mr Dunne and campaigner Toni-Marie Matich said there was still a stigma attached to cannabis based products:

Absolutely. We’ve written to and approached 300 organisations this year to have really logical, responsible discussion for their patients said Toni-Marie Matich. Look, it took six months and three banks to get a bank account she said.

Video of interview: Dunne open to Medicinal marijuana (13:19)

TVNZ ‘shit’

TVNZ won’t have deliberately posted shit like this:


It’s since been corrected here.

I make plenty of typos but I’m a busy one man band with plenty of other things to fit into my days, and I don’t have all the resources and presumably proofreaders that TVNZ will have.

More Labour aspirants in TVNZ?

Since the Shane Taurima scandal broke there has been mentions of other TVNZ staff who could aspire to switching to a political careers with Labour (but no indication they have been campaigning on the job).

Julian Wilcox?

John Drinnan@Zagzigger

Asked @MaoriTV noon today what commitment news boss @Julianwilcox has given. Approached by Labour. No comment. Statement tomorrow.

Scotty? (Morrison?)

Labour has been begging another well known TVNZ face to stand in a Maori seat…

@patrickgowernz Scotty? Old news. He’s a wanted man by more than Labour.

Tamati Coffey?

@CTrevettNZH Not Scotty Claire, a new one. Ask Tim Barnett, or wait till 6.10pm.

Labour trying to get Tamati Coffey to stand in Waiariki. #maoribroadcasteridol

Labour sources saying Tim Barnett the big Tamati Coffey supporter #Labour4Tamati

It’s not uncommon for journalists and broadcasters to jump into politics, but it’s less common for them to do well.

A good point:

Liam Dann@liamdann 

Suggestions of media bias should focus on whether an interviewer is soft on one party not tough on the other. Tough should be the default.

Other  factors is who they choose to interview and if they explore more of one side of a story than another.

But they may not be willing candidates:


Reckless. Leakers everywhere. Carrot -we’ll offer you a place – and stick – take it or we’ll reveal and ruin you

The same tactic was used against JW. The carrot – the offer of a place – and the stick – we will reveal our offer if you refuse and ruin you.

(Julian Wilcox)

That’s a big accusation. And more comment from Morgan:

Tamati is a lovely human being. But I’m pretty sure he’s not MP material. What’s Labour up to? #mediaobsession

If no ones comes to Shane’s defence, 3 News and National are going to bury him. This is an aggressive hit. Tamaki is open now.

3 News also comments on this:

Labour’s ‘broadcaster idol’ for the Maori seats continues. It’s lining up Maori Television’s Julian Wilcox and former TVNZ presenter Tamati Coffey confirmed to 3 News today Labour is begging him to stand.

Labour’s worst week leading to an omni-shambles?

The TVNZ/Shane Taurima issue looks like being a major embarrassment to Labour. While there is virtual silence on it at The Standard it is the hot topic of the day at Kiwiblog where David Farrar blogs: An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ


And it’s not the only embarrassment – Labour is looking very vulnerable with disaster after cock-up occurring,

Farrar also posts: A day of horrors for Labour

Monday started off badly enough for Labour with the weekend poll showing them 17% behind National.

Then they veered towards the ridiculous with David Cunliffe saying that he thinks the National Party may be paying people to follow MPs about.

It got worse when Cunliffe attacked John Key for living in a $10 million mansion, as this shifted focus on the fact he lived in a $2.5 million mansion himself.

Then the news broke that TVNZ had been hosting Labour Party campaign meetings, and that a senior TVNZ manager has resigned after hosting a hui which David Cunliffe attended.

A disaster of a day for Labour. No political management. And just to make it worse, the Taranaki Daily News reports that a young photographer was asked by David Cunliffe to delete a photo she took of him.

And in the comments section davidp rates the Labour’s worst weeks.

Third worst week in politics, any where, any time: A few weeks ago when Labour lied about the Baby Bribe. Their leader was clueless about the policy. They wanted to ban Facebook and then changed their mind. They announced a neonatal policy that was identical to the government’s current scheme. And Cunliffe didn’t know how to spell Lorde’s name.

Second worst week in politics, any where, any time: Norman and Peters both sold out NZ’s justice system in return for political favours. Peters lied about his secret meetings. Curran and Ardern had secret meetings too. And most of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens dressed themselves in tinfoil hats when they alleged GCSB were monitoring Winston Peters, when the “super secret” information they were concerned about was already in Whaleoil and the Herald.

First worst week in politics, any where, any time: Cunliffe climbs on to the Moonbat Express when he implies that GCSB must be Whaleoil’s source, rather than a small army of irregularly paid and disgruntled Dotcom staff. And it turns out that the Labour Party have taken over TVNZ and run it for corrupt purposes. AND it is only Monday.

The Labour – Greens – NZ First coalition is the reason Malcolm Tucker invented the word “omni-shambles”. Just when you think they can’t get any more corrupt, any more hopeless, or any more deranged… they pull out all the stops and take themselves to a whole new level of failure.

It’s not an omni-shambles yet, but it’s only Tuesday.

There has to be a major turnaround to prevent a Labour shambles at least (if it’s not too late). If Labour bomb out in the election it will be an omni-shambles because they will ruined Greens’ best chance yet to have a taste of power in Government , and it will keep Mana on the sideline.

And if it result’s in Winston Peters enabling a continuation of National in Government that could well lead to an omni-shambles.

Katie Bradford on political affiliations

I often see criticisms, presumptions and accusations made about TVNZ journalist Katie Bradford. These are all because of a family relationship – she is Sue Bradford’s daughter.

This often comes up on Kiwiblog, as it did this morning in relation to the TVNZ/Shane Taurimu/Labour story. Longknives comments:

TVNZ- Is anyone really surprised?? Considering their star reporter is Sue Bradford Jnr…

So I asked Katie:

@katieabradford a question that keeps coming up – do you have any political affiliations? Can you please advise.

She responded:

@PeteDGeorge not at all. My work speaks for itself.

I’ve never seen any obvious political bias from Katie – and watching journalists on Twitter you can often get a clear indication of their political preferences.

I haven’t seen any indication from Katie. In fact I suspect Katie tries harder than most journalists to be politically neutral.

Those journalists who are aware of possible perceptions of bias and work on being unbiased are usually more balanced than those who are ignorant of their leanings.

From journalist to celebrity

Funny tweet:

Re-routing @katieabradford‘s work mail 

Television does tend to have a self-celebritisation effect. At this stage it’s unknown if it’s a dig or just someone with a sense of humour in the Parliamentary mail room.

Unless it’s re-direction instructions.


 just changed the details and walked four steps and put it under her office door…


Winston Peters evades questions on evidence

In a number of interviews Winston Peters has been asked what evidence he has about the Peter Dunne leaks. Peters usually gives vague answers, contradictory answers or simply ignores the question. He has been more evasive than Dunne.

Once exchange was very funny:

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

Admitting he has never fronted up with evidence?

Here are edited transcripts of three interviews with Peters over the last three days. I have deleted diversionary waffleand questions and answers not related to evidence.

Radio NZ Checkpoint (Friday).

Watson: Mr Dunne says he still denies leaking it, some of his actions unwise, but he is not the source of the leak.

Peters: I don’t believe that.

Watson: What did you know about this?

Peters: Well anyone that saw the electronic record would have to come to the same conclusion that I came to a long time ago, and this is the reason why I raised it.

Watson: The electronic record, did you see an electronic record of his emails?

Peters: I saw sufficient electronic records to know what I was talking about.

Watson: Where did you get them from?

Peters: Well that doesn’t matter really.

Watson: Well, it would be interesting to know though.

Peters: Ah, I’d never ask a journalist for their source because it’s a matter of professional integrity, you can’t disclose it otherwise you’ll never get any more information, and nor can I.

Watson: But is your electronic records that you have seen, do they give you more insight into what’s in those emails? Are the just a track of traffic, or have you got content?Peters: Well, without content they’d be worthless, wouldn’t they.

Watson: Well, have you got content that you’ll be showing to the police?

Peters: I don’t get up and make allegations that I haven’t properly investigated.

Watson: Have you given information to the police?

Peters: No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, I only lodged the complaint today.

Watson: But you will be giving information to the police?

Peters: No, I have made myself available to talk to them if they want me to talk to them then that’s fine by me.

Watson: But if they asked for information, if they asked for email content between Peter Dunne and this reporter, you have it and you could give it to them?

Peters: Well most certainly yes.

Watson: How much have you got? Of the 86 emails how much have you got?

Peters: Well enough to know that a serious issue had people who were not treating it properly, had mistreated the information they got, and that was affecting my country’s national interest. I as a former foreign minister I know how seriously our overseas…

Watson: But is your information, have you got information that proves absolutely that Peter Dunne leaked the report to that reporter…

Peters: Well let me tell you this, I made the allegation knowing that there was a day of inevitable consequence, that day has arrived. That’s all you need to know.


The only details were provided by Watson. Peters gave no specific answers – but by not answering and not disputing what was claimed he left the impression that he has seen emails.

TV3 The Nation (Saturday)

Rachel:   Good morning Mr Peters thank you for joining us this morning.   You’ve seen an electronic record of the emails, were they truly professional.

Winston No.

Rachel:  Why weren’t they?  What did you see that made  you…?

Winston:  That’s all history now, but the fact is any one that saw that electronic record and its content had to know that this day was inevitable…

Rachel:  What specifically was unprofessional?

Winston:  Well leaking when you are on the Intelligence and Security Committee is seriously not just unprofessional it is in some countries, in fact our country as well, potentially a criminal act.

Rachel:  Was there anything in those emails that was potentially personally embarrassing to Mr Dunne?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  Can you expand on that?

Winston:  No, that’s immaterial….

Rachel:  Do you think that that is the reason why Mr Dunne didn’t make the emails, the unedited emails available because there was personally embarrassing information in them?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  And yet someone has leaked this information to you.  So is that not a breach of national security as well.  Does that not make you something of a hypocrite?

Winston        Well you’ve gotta be joking if you think that someone acting improperly as a minister, that is threatening the national security issues with respect to other countries, and that information as to the leak is coming to a Member of Parliament is a national security issue, then you’ve got it all – I’m sure you haven’t personally – but it’s a perverse way of looking at things.   There’s no irony here you know.

Source: Video | Transcript

Once again no answers, and no information about evidence provided by Peters.

TVNZ Q + A (Sunday):

CORIN How did you know when you were at that select committee to raise those allegations?

WINSTON I had information that suggested I should check out three things to pursue the information I had in terms of its disclosure.

CORIN What is that information?

WINSTON Well, that he wasn’t being questioned on oath, he wasn’t being questioned with electronic record, and, in my view, there was most certainly- he wasn’t having checked his electronic records.

CORIN And where did you get that from? Have you seen the emails?

WINSTON Look, I’d like to tell you, but, frankly, how many informants would I get if I start disclosing who they are.

CORIN Okay, so you’re not going to tell us where you got it from, but can you describe to us the nature of what you have seen in terms of have you seen emails? The emails in question?

WINSTON Let me just tell you, because there’s much more and wider than you think. The electronic records are very, very clear. Mr Dunne’s denial is, frankly, futile in the extreme. Those denials are bound to fail, and they concern far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist.

CORIN Can you give us some details of what they are?

WINSTON Well, you know, here’s one – one was to do with the very low morale of the GCSB, none of which would’ve been helped by leaking that sensitive report, again from the same minister to the same journalist. There was one with respect to the appointment of the head of the GCSB, the new one, as well as the one that was seriously classified – the Kitteridge report – at all times. And there is more than that as well.

CORIN So that implies that you’ve seen the nature – you’ve seen the actual emails themselves?

WINSTON I don’t think it’s any help for you to try and ask me for how I got the information-

CORIN Because we need to know whether that’s- how valid that is.

WINSTON Valid? That’s why he’s gone.

CORIN But when-?

WINSTON I don’t know why you guys still doubt. When I said in the select committee that I wanted that information, if anyone doubted that I meant to get to the bottom of it, then they don’t know how important this information is.

CORIN But what we need to know- You’re saying that there are other leaks that have come from Mr Dunne to this journalist, but what we need to know – is that what is contained in those emails that he won’t release?

WINSTON Some of it, yes, but it most certainly leaves no doubt that it’s him.

CORIN So you’re saying these emails contain details about Ian Fletcher’s appointment?WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What did it say?

WINSTON Well, it says something that’s clear to you – that a minister is leaking like a sieve.

CORIN So can you just give us a sense of the nature of what you’ve seen and you’ve claimed to have seen in these emails? Is it.. how does it.. what does it show about the nature of the relationship between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne? Do you think Peter Dunne was acting in an appropriate way?


CORIN In what way?

WINSTON Well, I don’t want to, you know, go down that path. It doesn’t-

CORIN Because Peter Dunne says he was absolutely professional, that this was simply just a case of a journalist talking to an MP. Are you saying that’s something different?

WINSTON Sadly, that statement is not true.

CORIN What evidence have you got to back that up?

WINSTON Sad for his staff as well, but, sadly, that statement’s not true.

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

WINSTON …I asked, ‘Was this evidence on oath? Was there electronic record?’ And to find that the answer is no to both those questions-
CORIN Okay, so you want John Key to do that?

WINSTON Well, because then you would see all of the electronic record, which you are entitled to, against a minister who has offended seriously the laws of this country, and second, who’s now arguing the privacy and the slippery slope down which we might go if his emails are disclosed. Those emails are about him breaching the security and the privacy of classified information.

CORIN Okay. Winston Peters, in the last couple of weeks, you seem to have found some renewed vigour and energy. I mean, you had a big speech on migrants. You’ve used parliamentary privilege to attack an opponent. What’s motivating you at the moment? Are you clearly positioning yourself now as the kingmaker for the next government?

WINSTON First of all, dislodge this idea of parliamentary privilege. I know what the journalists say, and let me tell you this – if I didn’t ask that in a privileged environment, they wouldn’t publish a thing.

CORIN Sure, okay. No, I accept that.

WINSTON …because they’re too scared of being sued. I’m not. They are.

Source: Q+A: Winston Peters interview video

In each interview details were put to him about evidence and he didn’t confirm (or deny) anything at all.

In parliament Peters was more specific. He said all the evidence was in the phone records. The Henry report had no phone evidence, so since that was released Peters has dropped any claims about phone records.

He now uses a more general term – “all of the electronic record“, and he refers to emails generally but provides no specific information about contents.

He has not provided any specific information, and he hasn’t directly confirmed anything.

This is typical Peters – he makes general accusations, allows the media to speculate for him, and then the media give him credit when something from within the vagueness proves to be true.

Radio NZ reported Pressure grows over spy report leak yesterday:

However, Mr Peters told Radio New Zealand News on Sunday he has information which proves Mr Dunne not only leaked the GCSB report before its scheduled release, but also other classified documents.

He said it’s the prime minister’s job to get his hands on the emails and reveal the truth and he wants Mr Key to launch a formal inquiry.

Mr Peters did not rule out releasing the information himself, but said it should come from Mr Key and not from someone outside the Government.

There is no transcript nor audio available so it cant be seen what Peters actually said. He seems to feed the media off air and then avoid answering on air.

I have seem no direct claim of having evidence form Peters. He allows the media to speculate and find evidence for him, he has asked the police to find evidence, and here he claims that the Prime Minister produce evidence.

This is all extremely dishonest of Peters.

He is a master of media manipulation. And they keep letting him get away with it, they don’t hold him to account or insist on substance to his claims, they do all the work for him, and then they give him credit for being right.

Winston Peters talks Q+A sense on the Speaker

Jessica Mutch interviewed Winston Peters on Q + A this morning about the problems in Question Time with the Speaker David Carter and and opposition frustration at claimed unfaori and unbalanced rulings.

Peters gave a reasoned and reasonable response, with a fair evaluation of Carter’s performance to date. He ruled him 3.5 out of 10 so far. He said “it’s only two months. He’s got a long way to go. We do hope that he does get up to it, yes”.

You know, you’ve got to have a Speaker that works, because Parliament has got to work in the end run. And for Parliament to work, we’ve all got to make compromises, but you shouldn’t have to make too big a compromise.

It’s not a game. The fact is that you’re there to ask questions that the public wants the answers to, and it’s in the ambit of responsibility of these ministers and their capacity and their knowledge to answer them properly.

The Prime Minister and his Ministers need to do more to meet their responsibilities to the Opposition and the public.

And Labour need to enable this by being less confrontational and less obsessed with petty point scoring – they could learn from Peters (and the Greens) in their approach to question time. They should be holding the Government and it’s ministers to account, not trying to win an election every week the House sits.

Carter should be able to manage the House in his own style but needs to do more to be seen to be fair – but the parties and MPs need to give him more of a fair go as well.

Full transcript and video:

JESSICA Look, being a referee or an umpire’s never easy, and you’ve got to have the knack. And some people have got it, some don’t, and some can by a lot of hard work and a bit of humility learn it. And he’s got a long, long way to go. Out of ten, what score would you give him?

WINSTON Well, he’s about three and a half at the moment, and I would think that even he would regard that as a pretty good score, but he’s got a long way to go. And if he doesn’t work out, I think we’ll have to look seriously at an independent or some other MP doing the job, because this sort of thing cannot go on. And there’s a lot of justification for the angst and upset of a number of members of Parliament. It’s not political. It’s just not right to have an unfair environment, either unknowingly or consciously.

JESSICA You talked about having someone independent. Do you think we’ve got to that point now?

WINSTON I think we were at the point a long, long time ago, but, of course, all the parties use it as a promotion link or as an equivalent to a Cabinet post, and it comes with a knighthood now, as you know. And so this is a huge inducement for people to do what they would ordinarily not do.

JESSICA Because we’ve seen in the House this week – we’ve seen almost a bit of a tag team with Trevor Mallard, Chris Hipkins, Russel Norman and yourself. Is this a game?

WINSTON No, it’s not a game. The fact is that you’re there to ask questions that the public wants the answers to, and it’s in the ambit of responsibility of these ministers and their capacity and their knowledge to answer them properly. And frankly, I’ve seen some ministers in the past you could never nail because they got up and briefly told the truth. And it’s still the smartest policy.

JESSICA So do you think this is a principle of Parliament that basically we have to have a Speaker who works to make the whole place work?

WINSTON Well, the most unusual people have been good Speakers. The best I ever saw was a guy called Burke – Kerry Burke. People are the-

JESSICA Why was he good?

WINSTON Well, we never thought he would be, and within a week, it was obvious he was going to be because you could tell from his demeanour that you had gone too far and that you weren’t being fair. He never kicked anyone out, and he got amazing cooperation out of the most unlikely people. So I think he was very, very good, and we did not think at the start he would be. Now, he was across the divide. He was a different party’s Speaker, so it’s not so much the party, it’s whether the person understands – you’re Parliament’s man or woman, you’ve got to be independent, you’ve got to be professional, and above all, you’ve got to be fair.

JESSICA In terms of fairness, do you think that David Carter is still very much leaning in favour of National?

WINSTON He hasn’t got past his political colours. He hasn’t dropped the National Party background, and he’s got to do that to be successful. That’s what it actually means in there. If you talk about the romance and majesty of the job, it’s to be Parliament’s person above all else, fearing no party or baggage or obligation. He’s got a long way to go to get there.

JESSICA Because some people would say you’ve been kicked out of Parliament, according to the Parliamentary Library, 38 times. Are you the best judge of what makes a good Speaker?

WINSTON Yeah, I am.

JESSICA Why is that?

WINSTON Because I’ve been treated more unfairly than most.

JESSICA So do you think-?

WINSTON I didn’t come here to make friends, and I didn’t come here to be put down or shut down. And if I was in a court of law, I’d get the answer, and I’m entitled to the answer here too.

JESSICA Do you respect the job that he’s doing?

WINSTON To be fair-

JESSICA Because that’s a point-

WINSTON he didn’t want the job.


WINSTON But the National Party wanted an extra Cabinet post member to be made available. That’s why Williamson outside of Cabinet didn’t get the job.

JESSICA And he’s only been in the job for two months, so don’t you need to give him a bit of leeway?

WINSTON Well, he’s been in Parliament long enough, hasn’t he?

JESSICA Yeah, but doing that-

WINSTON He’s been here since 1994. That is almost 20 years. If you haven’t learnt something in 20 years, maybe you should have gone.

JESSICA Do you think, though, that he does need to be given a little bit of leeway – give him a break, so to speak?

WINSTON Yeah, I think that’s fair.

JESSICA Are you doing that, though?

WINSTON Well, he’s had more than enough breaks so far.

JESSICA Because it seems like you’re giving him a pretty hard time. And watching from the debating chamber, it looks like you’re rarking him up a bit.

WINSTON Well, there’s no use saying, ‘Look, we’ll let the speaker do what he likes and try and learn,’ whilst you lose the game every day trying to get at the truth. Because this is a game or business that’s a raging battle for political plow. And if you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand Parliament. And people are expecting you to put your best foot- and give your best foot forward and give it your best shot. And you cannot have something that is hindering you from doing that.

JESSICA You sued the Speaker a number of years ago for defamation. Some people would say this is personal for you.

WINSTON No, it’s not because of that. You know, you’ve got to have a Speaker that works, because Parliament has got to work in the end run. And for Parliament to work, we’ve all got to make compromises, but you shouldn’t have to make too big a compromise.

JESSICA Does that personal clash, though, make it more difficult for you?

WINSTON It’s not a personal matter between him and me at all, but, you know, he came to me before he got the job and said, ‘We need to talk.’ And my answer was, ‘Well, look, if nobody bothered to consult us about you being chosen in the first place, what would our conversation be about?’

JESSICA So he can stay in the job, in your opinion?

WINSTON Well, he can stay in the job whilst he shows that he’s up to doing the job.

JESSICA And is he?

WINSTON And that should be the condition anyone stays in their job.

JESSICA Is he up to it?

WINSTON Well, as you say, it’s only two months. He’s got a long way to go. We do hope that he does get up to it, yes.