Winston Peters doubles down on Mediaworks criticism

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 12:04PM
Winston Peters has criticised Mediaworks staff for their treatment of him in 2008. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Winston Peters has criticised Mediaworks staff for their treatment of him in 2008. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Winston Peters doubles down on Mediaworks criticism

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Oct 2019, 12:04PM

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has lashed back at criticism of his comments about the MediaWorks sale - describing network star Mark Richardson as "gutless" and "spineless".

MediaWorks revealed on Friday that it plans to sell its TV network and Auckland building.

The following day Peters told NZ First's annual conference: "Now I'm sorry for some of them because they deserve to stay. But for some of them - good riddance''.

The comment prompted Richardson to this morning describe Peters as "heartless and classless".

Now Peters has bitten back, saying he stands by his "good riddance" comment - and calling out Richardson as "gutless".

Speaking to media this morning, Peters directly addressed Richardson's comments and called The AM Show presenter "spineless" and "gutless".

"I feel like I have been mauled by a lamb," he said, after asking media after 14 minutes of questions why they hadn't asked about his comments about MediaWorks.

"I feel seriously sorry for all those people who work for MediaWorks - I really do," Peters said.

"I feel sorry for them, but also sorry for their husbands and wives," he said, adding that many of them probably have mortgages they have to pay.

But then he changed tact.

"That said, I can remember them [Newshub] pillorying me for five months before the 2008 election.

"And as my staff members were crying about where they were going on Monday... [Newshub] (TV3 at the time) couldn't give a Tinker's damn."

After the 2008 election, NZ First did not win enough votes to return to Parliament.

Peters said he did not criticise all of MediaWorks staff when he said "good riddance" - "what I said was, for the odd one, it was 'good riddance'."

It appears he was referring to Richardson as "the odd one" as he referenced a time recently when The AM Show presenter cast a "serious slur" on his health after he said Peters had finished an interview on the show.

He called him "spineless, gutless" for not putting questions about Peters' health to him when he was on air.

"My answer to Mr Flash White Teeth is: I couldn't give a rat's derriere what you think."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern distanced herself from Peters' remarks this morning, saying she did not share his sentiments.

"It is up to each of us to have our own opinions and express them," she told reporters.

Ardern said that had nothing to do with Government policy and "so I leave opinions to members of Parliament to express themselves".

She said there was no Government position on MediaWorks' TV network sell-off.

Asked if Peters was wrong to make the comments, Ardern didn't directly answer.

"Opinions are expressed by members of Parliament all the time and it's matters for them."

But she did when it comes sale of the TV side of MediaWorks: her view was that this was a period of uncertainty for those staff.

"I wanted to acknowledge that - it is a really difficult time, but ultimately these are commercial decisions."

Earlier today Richardson, co-host of The AM Show, described Peters' comments asĀ "heartless and classless'' revelling.

"As a sports person, I understand competition. I understand your adversaries' right to challenge you, to test you, to ask the hard question and from time to time to better you.

"I also learned to respect their skill, respect them, to shake hands and move on - to regroup and come back better myself for it,'' Richardson said.

"It would appear your politics lacks this basic human aspect.''

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