Mike Hosking's political leanings - in his own words
OPINION: So New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has spoken out against TVNZ's decision to have Mike Hosking host its election debates.
Peters described Hosking as "wholly unsuitable" for the task, suggesting the veteran broadcaster was biased.
"There's no way that Mike Hosking can possibly be described as neutral," said Peters. "He's spent most of his time attacking one line of political thought and that means he should rule himself out."
Which got us to thinking – just how solid is the argument that Hosking leans a certain way politically? Time for a google...
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* Mike Hosking - the forgotten victim of PM John Key's resignation
Firstly – and on the face of it perhaps most damnably – there's the time he emceed John Key's state of the nation speech in 2013.
"We have bright prospects for the future, so long as you keep them in government," he said of the National Party at the time.
"Why not? I'm allowed to," he later told The Listener's Diana Wichtel, defending his very public endorsement. "I didn't actually say they should be re-elected I don't think." Um, you kinda did there Mike.
The following year - within the first moments of his first episode fronting Seven Sharp - Hosking dismissed then Labour leader David Cunliffe as "a moron" for delivering his own state of the nation speech on Auckland Anniversary day.
That wasn't the last time poor old Cunliffe would feel the sting of a Hosking tongue-lashing. Ahead of the 2014 election: "Is David Cunliffe incompetent or mad? Is he out to lunch or out of touch? Is David Cunliffe deluded or living in a parallel universe?"
But let's return to Key for a moment. The relationship between supposedly unbiased broadcaster and PM often appeared downright cosy during the former foreign exchange trader's tenure as leader of our nation.
At no point was this more evident than when he actually stepped down as New Zealand's Prime Minister.
"John Key is the best Prime Minister of my lifetime," gushed Hosking in a farewell column to the man of whom he once said: "Very few people worth $50 million get the real world better than Key."
Of course, all of the quotes we've mentioned so far are months, if not years old now - and they say just a week is a long time in politics.
But in the past fortnight alone Hosking hasn't let up, claiming new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has "a credibility issue" and repeatedly rubbishing the Labour Party - most notably on July 31, when he addressed talk of Andrew Little stepping down as leader.
"Here in 2017, can Labour in all honesty look at Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern and go, 'There are our saviours, they'll make all the difference?'," Hosking asked during his regular 'Mike's Minute' segment on NewstalkZB.
"No, they cannot. And I think the cold hard reality is that Little is not actually the issue. The entire Labour movement, the PC takeover, the blancmange veneer that is modern Labour is the real issue."
Hmmm. You might just have a point here Winnie.
A request made to TVNZ for comment from Hosking in relation to this story was turned down and he has yet to respond to approaches made directly to him.
Hosking has addressed the issue of any political leanings he might have before however - the last time they were brought into question by Winston Peters.
In response to a 2015 claim by the New Zealand First leader that he was "a National Party stooge" - brought on by an item written for NZME on the dairy industry - Hosking said that he was "not remotely political".
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