Journalist's 'savage' question goes viral after NZ election

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A controversial politician has been roasted on TV in a “savage” interview after losing the New Zealand election.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory in New Zealand's general election on Saturday, with the Labour Party securing nearly 50 per cent of the vote.

One of her political rivals, Jami-Lee Ross, the founder of the Advance New Zealand Party, was far less successful though and received only 0.9 per cent of the vote.

Mr Ross appeared on Newshub Nation on Sunday morning to discuss the results and host Tova O’Brien didn’t hold back.

Jami-Lee Ross with Tova O'Brien on Newshub Nation.
Jami-Lee Ross (left) speaks with Tova O'Brien after the New Zealand election. Source: Newshub Nation

“Jami-Lee, you just described yourself as a loser,” she says.

“You are out of National (his former party), out of parliament, out of Botany (his former seat) and your political career is in tatters. Do you have any regrets?”

New Zealand Covid vaccine scare

Mr Ross says his party “gave it a good go” adding he only started Advance New Zealand “a few months ago”.

He adds he’s enjoyed his time but O’Brien isn’t satisfied and asks if he “wants another crack” at answering her question.

O’Brien accuses his political party of “peddling misinformation” about coronavirus. She’s referring to Advance New Zealand’s Facebook page which published allegations that the sitting government was going to force residents to get a Covid vaccine.

A Facebook spokesperson told Stuff.co.nz last week “we don’t allow anyone to share misinformation on our platforms about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm” and confirmed the page’s removal.

Mr Ross says his party was “asking some hard questions about the direction of Covid-19”.

He concedes he has regrets and things “could have been done a lot differently”.

O’Brien accuses Mr Ross of selling “his soul” for votes.

New Zealand’s Public Party raises fears

She’s referring to how Mr Ross’s Advance New Zealand Party merged with Billy Te Kahika’s New Zealand Public Party.

The New Zealand Public Party is skeptical of 5G, fluoridation in water and vaccinations.

Mr Ross says he believes Covid-19 exists but he was concerned about New Zealand’s direction.

O’Brien is having none of it and accuses him of “whipping up fear and hysteria among vulnerable communities”.

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” she says.

Mr Ross says: “not at all” and begins to bring up statistics from flu deaths but O’Brien cuts him off saying she doesn’t “want to hear any of that rubbish”.

“You can’t just give me that and not allow me to answer,” he says.

But O’Brien says if Mr Ross is going to say things which are “factually incorrect” she will object.

They speak more about his political career and why he left the National Party.

Hard-hitting interview style praised online

On Twitter, people praised O’Brien’s interview with one man suggesting it should be used “as a training video” for journalists holding politicians to account.

One man tweeted the interview was “amazingly savage”.

“Need 50 of her on Sky and the BBC. The country would be better off for it,” another man tweeted.

Another man described O’Brien as “like a hot knife through butter” while another called her comment stating Mr Ross wouldn’t be on the show again as “brutal”.

“She leads from the lip and is not put off by those who would have her silenced. A true political muckraker,” another man tweeted.

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