ZB

Jackson puts past behind, needs merger focus, commentator says

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 3:43pm
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson is now also the new Broadcasting Minister, after Kris Faafoi's resignation was announced. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson is now also the new Broadcasting Minister, after Kris Faafoi's resignation was announced. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Jackson puts past behind, needs merger focus, commentator says

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 3:43pm

The Women's Refuge chief executive says Willie Jackson has grown up from the days he was embroiled in a contentious broadcast about the so-called Roast Busters.

Jackson will be the new Broadcasting Minister after Kris Faafoi's resignation from Parliament was announced yesterday.

The new minister faces an upcoming mega-merger involving Radio New Zealand and TVNZ. In the past he faced questions, and made apologies, for a controversial 2013 Radio Live broadcast.

Jackson and former co-host John Tamihere were suspended from talkback duties after interviewing a young woman over the sexual abuse scandal.

Critics said the broadcasters took a devil's advocate position and the pair were accused by some of blaming the victim.

Jackson at the time voluntarily stepped down from a Radio Waatea show as well.

"Willie has moved on," Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said.

"Love her or hate her, Jacinda Ardern is a politician and a good judge of character. If she had any questions about Jackson's position or issues like that, I doubt he would have even got a sniff."

Jury said Jackson appeared to have matured since the 2013 Radio Live incident.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked about Jackson's new portfolio today and the Roast Busters scandal.

"I believe that was well-traversed at the time," the PM said of the controversial 2013 broadcast.

Media commentator and former TVNZ executive Bill Ralston said Jackson had been involved in making many TV programmes.

"He knows broadcasting, radio and TV."

He said the Roast Busters interview was a long time ago.

"When you're on air, you do make mistakes."

More pertinently, Jackson had a big job ahead with the radio-TV merger, Ralston said.

Three years after the contentious Radio Live broadcast, Jackson apologised again in 2017 after facing criticism from sexual violence campaigners.

At the time he said his critics might be unaware of the work his Manukau Urban Māori Authority was doing in the area of preventing violence against women.

Poto Williams, then Labour's spokeswoman on family and sexual violence, tweeted: "I am concerned that Willie Jackson is becoming a Labour Party candidate with a prominent ranking on the list."

Williams went on to become Police Minister but lost that portfolio in yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle.

Meanwhile, Tamihere was elected Te Pāti Māori's new president last week, replacing Che Wilson.