Mike Hosking says he 'confused' the Māori Party by saying only Māori could vote for them
Broadcaster Mike Hosking has blamed the Māori Party for being "confused" by his suggestion only Maori could vote for them.
On Wednesday night Hosking and his co-presenter Toni Street were talking about TVNZ's online political tool VoteCompass when Hosking asked if her issue was, "the fact that you can't vote for the Māori Party, because you're not enrolled in the Maori electorates?".
Anyone on the electoral roll can give their party vote to the Maori Party.
After Hosking's error, Māori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox questioned whether the TVNZ presenter should be allowed to moderate political debates. The pair described it as a "major blunder". TVNZ agreed the comments "were inaccurate".
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But Hosking appeared to blame the Māori Party for some sort of misunderstanding during the Seven Sharp show on Thursday.
"Last night, in a throwaway line, I appear to have confused the Māori Party around the rules of voting in MMP," he said.
Hosking said he had meant that the Māori Party, in its current status, was "an electorate party".
"They are only in Parliament because they have won an electorate seat.
"Therefore, what I said in referring to voting for them was to vote for them in a Māori electorate you had to be on the Māori roll, which is true."
Hosking added that it "went without saying" that anyone could vote for them as a "list party".
Although the party got into Parliament via co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell's Waiariki seat, its second seat held by Marama Fox is as a result of the party vote support it achieved.
The proportion of the party vote is what decides the make-up of Parliament.
If Flavell had not won his seat in 2014, however, the party would not have had any MPs because it achieved less than five per cent support.
On Thursday night, Flavell tweeted that Hosking's latest comments were "unreal".
He added his party was "certainly not just 'for Māori' we have had non Māori members and champions since we began".
Unreal. An apology that wasn't, and clarification that never came. EVERY VOTER CAN VOTE FOR THE MĀORI PARTY. Quite simple. @SevenSharp— Te Ururoa Flavell MP (@TeUruroaFlavell) August 24, 2017
Earlier, he said "the damage had been done" by Hosking's original mistake.
"You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. There will be some who watched last night's show, who don't watch it tonight," Flavell said.
Tukoroirangi Morgan, the president of the Māori Party, had called on the bosses of TVNZ to get Hosking to correct the mistake on Seven Sharp on Thursday night.
"The fact is that non-Māori voters and voters on the general roll can give the Māori Party their party vote," said Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan.
"Mike has abused his position of power and influence to lie to the nation. At his level, as a national broadcaster, being ill informed is no excuse," Morgan said.
"So just to be clear, everyone on the general role can still vote Maori Party - Pasifika, Pakeha, Asian and all others.
"TVNZ has got a legal and ethical obligation, not to our party, but to hundreds of thousands of their viewers, to right the wrong. And they really should be doing that tonight when their programme goes to air again," he said.
Flavell weighed in on Wednesday night when he tweeted Seven Sharp and Street saying "Mike wasn't correct tonight - you can vote for Māori Party even tho (sic) you aren't on Māori roll".
In a statement TVNZ said, "we will make a clarification on tonight's show to clear up any confusion".
"We advised the Māori Party that we would be setting the record straight on tonight's show a couple of hours before they issued their media release."
Hosking had already had to defend himself over being picked as moderator for the political debates after criticism that he was the wrong person for the job.
NZ First leader Winston Peters had questioned Hosking's objectivity and a petition to have him replaced had gained tens of thousands of signatures.
Hosking responded at the time saying he was simply the best person for the gig.
But it's not only Hosking who had a blank moment with the Māori Party - on Thursday Labour leader Jacinda Ardern seemed to forget the party existed altogether.
When Rongomai school children were quizzing her about the different "teams" that made up Parliament, Ardern used the party colours to rattle them off.
She mentioned the red team, the blue team, a green team, "a really little yellow team", a black and white team and a blue, white and red team - referring to Gareth Morgan's TOP - but completely forgot about the black and red team of the Māori Party.