PM, Soper clash after she cancels weekly Hosking interview

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 3:03PM

PM, Soper clash after she cancels weekly Hosking interview

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 3:03PM

The Prime Minister has rejected a suggestion she's picking and choosing favourable media and topics after cancelling her regular slot with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

It was announced this week Jacinda Ardern had pulled the plug on regular appearances and she and other ministers would instead appear "as and when issues arise".

Ardern appeared on both morning breakfast television shows and was on RNZ's Morning Report this morning.

She was asked whether she had a duty to appear on major news stations to talk to their audience and not about talking with the presenters.

"This is the point I made. Actually the decision four weeks ago and I said when things come up that are of major national importance I'll keep going on the show. And I've done that twice since."

Later in the morning at Parliament, Newstalk ZB's political editor Barry Soper - who accused Ardern in an opinion piece of blanching at tough questions - asked the Prime Minister why she had cancelled her weekly slot with Hosking but anticipated she would still be on RNZ weekly.

Soper asked: "Are you choosing the topics of what you're going to be on?"

Ardern replied: "No, not at all. And I really reject any suggestion. There will be issues of the day that will be discussed and I'll receive topics as I do from any journalist who chooses to ask questions. Or I might just receive them at random.

Ardern said no Prime Minister was able to do "every slot available".

The Newstalk ZB Breakfast slot has been a regular segment for more than 30 years until Ardern cancelled it.

"And in that time they wouldn't have had regular slots on say Newshub, or say Breakfast television. There is a multitude now of different forms of media in different sectors providing information to their communities that are vastly different from 30 years ago."

Soper asked how she knew she'd be on RNZ weekly.

"I just anticipate it's likely that that will happen but I can't for instance say at this point how regular it will be with Newstalk. So far it's been twice in a month."

Soper retorted: "Are you trying to control the news?"

Ardern replied as she walked away: "Oh, Barry"

She said yesterday Newstalk ZB listeners would still hear her and could read her comments from multiple weekly press conferences in the Herald - which is also owned by NZME - and on the Newstalk ZB website. 

"I don't think anyone would argue that I'm not available, I'm not able to be questioned on issues of the day, but I do want to do a better job of reaching into some other corners where people might not get information from sources like ZB or even the Herald."

Ardern said she would not be substituting the time with major news networks with time on social media.