TVNZ and the Opposition Leader

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Television New Zealand has dumped the Labour leader’s weekly appearance on its Breakfast show, telling David Shearer it’s not about him “as a person”.

Prime Minister John Key has a Monday morning slot on the show and last year former Labour leader Phil Goff regularly appeared on Tuesday mornings. …

It is understood Labour put its case to , saying its leader needed to have the right of reply when Key attacked the Opposition.

In a letter back to Labour, TVNZ said the Prime Minister was a newsmaker in his own right and the state broadcaster was merely doing what it always had.

The leader of the Opposition had only featured weekly during election years.

“This is not an issue about the person, merely a decision about the position, and we have been consistent with that through Labour and National administrations.

“The Breakfast team has already shown its willingness to invite Mr Shearer on to the programme when he is a legitimate newsmaker and is setting the agenda on a story.”

Off memory, TVNZ is absolutely correct. I recall when National was in Opposition, the Opposition Leader never got a regular spot until election year.

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