Hosking's controversial Maori comments cleared by BSA
Branded as racist by some viewers, Mike Hosking's controversial comments about former New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd did not breach broadcasting standards.
A complaint to the Broadcasting Standard Authority (BSA) came after Hosking commented on Judd's decision not to stand for mayor again because he had been abused following his call for a Maori ward on his council.
"Sad to say – I’d never personally attack [Mr Judd], obviously – but he’s completely out of touch with middle New Zealand. There’s nothing wrong with Maori representation on councils because any Maori who wants to stand for a council is more than welcome to do so," Hosking said in May.
However Hosking did not escape without a telling off.
The authority stated the presenters' comments on the Judd item "were dismissive of a valid issue in New Zealand which deserves meaningful discussion."
The complaint was one of three received by the BSA following the Judd story.
The Authority did not uphold two complaints that several of the reporter’s comments, including that "83 per cent of New Plymouth voters voted “no” to any Maori at the Council table", were inaccurate.
The Authority found the statements alleged to be inaccurate were made as part of a lengthy explanation by the reporter about the proposed Maori ward and the referendum.
Viewers would have understood that he was referring to whether a Maori ward should be established on the Council, not to the wider issue of representation.
"While the reporter’s statements were careless and loose, we are satisfied there was sufficiently precise and accurate commentary surrounding these statements to mitigate any lapses… in the context of a profile piece about Mr Judd for Seven Sharp, the reporter’s shorthand explanation did not reach the threshold for breaching the accuracy standard’, the Authority said.
The story and Hosking's comments lead to TVNZ setting up a committee to review the complaints.
"In terms of the dialogue between colleagues, there has been some discussion about this piece as you've seen - robust conversation and differing viewpoints are not unusual in the current affairs environment," a TVNZ spokesperson said at the time.
One complaint posted on the Seven Sharp Facebook page came from a medical student called Kera May.
"Deeply offended by the racism exhibited by Mike Hosking on your show tonight. If anyone is "out of touch with Middle New Zealand" (which includes many Maori like myself thank you very much!) it's you Mike."
Her post drew hundreds of comments and shares on the social media site.
Hosking's comments were also condemned by his own colleagues Miriama Kamo and Scotty Morrison on TVNZ show Marae.
Kamo said the comments had upset her and she told of her own struggles with a previous employer firing her when she corrected him on the pronunciation of her name.