Radio NZ drops sole centre right commentator

In the 100+ hours a week of National Radio broadcasts, there was only 15 minutes a week in which someone consistently and regularly criticised the Government.

This was the nine to noon politics segment with Matthew Hooton and Peter Harris. Harris, a former (and I think also does some current work for Labour) staffer for Cullen, and Hooton, who worked for National in the 90s, would debate politics for 15 minutes with Linda Clark. Both men were partisan, but it meant one actually got to hear the arguments from each side. It was informative and entertaining.

I understand from well placed sources in Wellington that both Heather Simpson and Tony Timms have complained to Radio NZ about the show in the past – especially Hooton’s attacks on the Government. And today the show has been canned.

Now let’s look at the regular voices on National Radio:

* John Pagani
* Anita McNaught
* Phil Wallington
* Rod Oram
* David Slack
* Eva Radich
* Kim Hill
* Chris Laidlaw
* Gael Woods
* Russell Brown
* Tom Frewen (formerly)

Now I’m not saying all these fine people should not be on Radio NZ. But what I am very very unhappy about is the *sole* regular centre-right critic of the Government has been canned a few days after the Government had been vigorously criticised with regard to the Police letting Labour off. I mean how does this measure against their charter of “Comprehensive, independent, impartial, and balanced national news services and current affairs”

Hooton, while from the right, is not just a shill for National. He has often turned the blowtorch on National and MPs such as McCully and Brownlee (who despite this has done a release asking why RNZ has axed the Hooton/Harris segment).

I want Radio NZ to front up and explain why they axed this segment, and the extent of any contact with the 9th floor in the last fortnight and previously to this. If for example one of the participants was no longer available, surely the answer is to replace him not to axe the segment.

Helen can have the other 167 and three quarter hours a week on National Radio. But I want my politics segment back!!

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