Mike Hosking to stay on Seven Sharp despite 22,000 signature petition
Broadcaster Mike Hosking looks set to stay on Seven Sharp despite over 22,000 people signing a petition asking TVNZ to take him off air.
TVNZ says it has no plans to remove Hosking from his role as co-host of its popular 7pm current affairs show.
The petition called on TVNZ to ditch Hosking because he was too partisan.
A TVNZ spokesperson said it made “no changes” to Seven Sharp despite being aware of the signatures.
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* Hating Hosking is not a good reason to get rid of him
* Mike Hosking: Why I want to get rid of him
And TVNZ had to “no plans” to change the Seven Sharp presenter line-up, the spokesperson said.
“Seven Sharp focuses on the conversations of the day and presenter opinions are an integral part of the show. We don’t expect everyone to agree with every view expressed in our programming, but support the right for individuals to have and express their personal views – petitioner and presenter alike.”
More than 22,000 people have signed the petition in the two months since it was started by China-based New Zealand lawyer Dan Wayman.
As well as TVNZ, the petition was aimed at the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) and Broadcasting minister Amy Adams.
Both Adams and the BSA said they would not be taking any action.
A BSA spokesperson said the organisation was aware of the petition, but general concerns about a particular presenter were dealt with by the relevant broadcaster, not the BSA.
People could complain to the BSA if they felt Seven Sharp violated the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which includes standards relating to balance and fairness.
However, the BSA has upheld one complaint about Hosking’s performance on Seven Sharp in the past year, which related to his comments about the waitress involved in last year’s John Key ponytail-pulling scandal.
Hosking described the waitress’ motivations for speaking out as “selfish” and “a puffed up self-involved pile of political bollocks”. The Authority said the comments were unfair to the waitress because she was not a public figure.
A spokesperson for Adams said the minister had received an email from Wayman drawing her attention to the petition. However she would not take any action as staffing was an “operational matter” for TVNZ.
The spokesperson noted that because the petition was online there was no way of validating the signatures.
“Even if we assume that all 22,000 signatories are valid and watch TVNZ, it’s worth noting that they only make up 0.88 per cent of TVNZ’s audience on any given day,” the spokesperson said.
TVNZ’s statute requires it to provide quality programming that is relevant to and enjoyed by the New Zealand public for free, and reflects Maori perspectives.
Wayman said the petition provided a “swift, clear and resounding message to TVNZ from over 20,000 people in a matter of just a few days”.
He said backlash against the petition had provided an “interesting insight into the kind of people that Hosking attracts”.
“He most definitely has a large number of angry, aggressive and abusive followers within his flock and they were all very keen to parrot the enraged, abusive ‘rant’ style of their great leader.
“I am not sure whether encouragement of such a combative atmosphere among the New Zealand public is such a responsible idea by Hosking or TVNZ, regardless of the perceived ratings,” Wayman said.
He said he would be leaving the petition up for the foreseeable future so more Kiwis could add their voices to the crowd calling for Hosking’s removal.