Ardern has 'spoken to' Jackson over Q+A interview

December 5, 2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has "spoken to" Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson over his contentious Q+A interview yesterday.

Jackson sparred with Q+A host Jack Tame over a number of controversial issues surrounding the merger of TVNZ and RNZ.

Ardern was asked if she had watched the segment at this afternoon's post-Cabinet address.

"No I have not, yesterday was a very busy day, I have heard some of the excerpts from it," she said.

The reporter then asked if the prime minister thought Jackson was "unprepared" for the interview.

"I don't agree with some of the comments he made, I have spoken to the minister about the interview, but of course the basis of the reforms, the reason we are going through this exercise to strengthen public broadcasting is the right one and that doesn't change regardless of an interview," Ardern answered.

When pressed on what comments she didn't agree with, Ardern said it was the "possible interpretation of anything other than our very strong, strong stance on editorial independence".

"Some have taken issue with some of the comments, I don't believe that is what the minister was trying to do or say but I can see how people may have taken issue with some of them."

Ardern simply stated "yes he is" when asked if Jackson was still fit to be the broadcasting minister.

It comes as ACT leader David Seymour earlier told 1News Helen Clark would have "sacked" Jackson after the interview.

"Helen Clark would have sacked Willie Jackson for attacking the underlying independence of media in New Zealand while positioned as broadcasting minister," he said.

"Clark would not tolerate a broadcasting minister who gave an interview like that, unfortunately Jacinda Ardern is not Helen Clark and has a habit of suffering fools gladly.

"Just look what Trevor Mallard got away with, look what David Clark got away with mountain biking in the middle of a pandemic. Jackson will get away with this too because Ardern is not Helen Clark who would have terminated him within 30 seconds of him finishing that interview."

In a follow-up question Seymour then labelled Jackson a "bumbling buffoon", stating he's "the last thing you need as a broadcasting minister" in the current climate.

Yesterday Jackson posted a lengthy comment to his Facebook page about the interview.

"Many of my supporters thought Jack was rude and over the top but thought I went well. Others thought Jack was all over me, I was rude, and did not respond well at all.

"I actually thought it was a good interview, Jack did his job and so did I," part of the post reads.

Jackson has not fronted for interviews today.