15 Jul 2020

Newstalk ZB payout to fund Māori Party election campaign

1:16 pm on 15 July 2020

A settlement payout over defamatory claims Mike Hosking made on air about John Tamihere will help fund the Māori Party's election campaign.

John Tamihere outside Auckland High Court.

John Tamihere outside Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Newstalk ZB has apologised over comments Hosking made implying the Māori Party co-leader had personally benefited from Whānau Ora funding, which was not the case.

Hosking apologised on the air this morning.

Tamihere stood in the witness box in the High Court at Auckland to receive Newstalk ZB's court-ordered apology this morning, which was read aloud by lawyer Alan Ringwood in the absence of any member of NZME's senior management.

Speaking outside court after the hearing, Tamihere said a confidential settlement sum would be put towards the Māori Party's election campaign.

"What I can say is that contribution of some significance will be made to the Māori Party election campaign and you can thank Mike Hosking for that."

Today's apology is about comments Hosking made about payments that had been made by the North Island Whānau Ora commissioning agency Te Pou Matakana in December 2018.

Te Pou Matakana had received funds from the Ministry of Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, and had paid that money out to its shareholders.

Reading the Newstalk ZB apology in court this morning, Ringwood said it accepted Te Pou Matakana was entitled to receive the funds and pay out the sums that it did to its shareholders.

"The way in which the item was worded could have been taken to mean that John Tamihere personally benefitted from the payments.

"Newstalk ZB accepts that Tamihere did not benefit personally from the payments and sincerely apologises to John Tamihere," Ringwood said.

Outside court Tamihere said he hoped Hosking and his bosses had learnt racially stereotyping others was wrong.

"I think it sends a message to mainstream broadcasters, particularly very powerful brands, that racial stereotyping is not right because it casts suspicion on all Māori around financial transactions and it's just not right."

He said he had offered to resolve the dispute "the Kiwi way" with an apology over a beer but had to take it to court to clear his name.

"You've got to hold your mana in your communities. You can't walk around you communities up and down the country with them believing that you've got your fingers in their till. That was the allegation.

"You can't hold your head up so you have to defend yourself. I'm lucky enough to be a trained lawyer with enough resources to defend myself; a lot of Māori don't."

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