What Planet Is Mike Hosking On?

August 6, 2020
What happens when the families of the dead come knocking?

PAT PILCHER is aghast at Newstalk ZB for giving far-right pundit Mike Hosking oxygen to spread Covid-19 rumours and testing dissent.

What happens when the families of the dead come knocking?

Flying home to Wellington with a hundred or so other travellers yesterday, I felt safe and fear-free. It was great knowing that I didn’t need to wear a mask. It’s almost too easy to forget how remarkable that is right now in a world churning in Covid-19 chaos.

This seems to have missed media outlets like Newstalk ZB, who seem to think it’s their duty to ramp up fear around the pandemic. (See my previous story about media spreading Covid-19 panic here).

Their latest headline hits new lows, shrieking: “PM is scaremongering us for political advantage”. The author, Mike Hosking, has tossed petrol onto an already burning Covid-19 conspiracy bonfire. Does Newstalk ZB or Hosking even give a damn about the consequences of this bizarre story?

The pandemic is no joke

As a second Coronavirus wave washes over Victoria, Australia, where 147 have died so far, it’s hard to call NewsTalk ZB and Hosking’s actions anything but irresponsible. Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, the PM called for more testing. Health experts say that we need to be super vigilant. With all this going on, surely it’s not unreasonable to say that this is not the best time to downplay the Pandemic or question Covid-19 testing.

Yet this is what Hosking and Newstalk ZB did. They seemed okay with framing the global pandemic as a political plaything, minimising it to suit their narrative.

We need to test, test, test

If there’s any doubt, check this out. Hosking says that the PM’s “say yes to the test” comment is, “Because she wants you to worry, she wants you to remember the dark and troubled days of lockdown, and the uncertainty of what would happen to us all as this previously unknown virus swept the world and towards our small nation.”
Could it be that the Government wants to stop a pandemic from killing New Zealanders? Might they want to stop any further damage to our already battered economy? Anyone with half a brain knows that a second Covid-19 wave would be disastrous for Labour’s re-election. Yet Hosking persists with the bizarre conspiracy theory. He contends the Government is pushing testing to keep voters frightened and compliant.

Like so many other far-right pundits, he goes to some lengths to minimise the deadly side of the pandemic. He says, “We can’t be complacent. No, we can’t. But that applies to crossing the road, eating too much fat, or drinking too much alcohol. That doesn’t mean we test ourselves for it for the sake of it.”

Covid-19 is real, it’s deadly, and we don’t want to be like Victoria

If by now, you’re sputtering “Whaaa?”, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Social media was awash with outrage as people read his reckons. Many were livid that Hosking and NewsTalk ZB glossed over the fact that Kiwis are responsible people, most of whom are willing to get tested to play it safe. Most reasonable people know that the pandemic isn’t a game. Most are okay with getting tested so that the people we love don’t catch Covid-19, get sick or even die.

A whopping 686,703 people are already dead from the virus according to the World Health Organisation, but the severity of the situation eludes Hosking and the editors who published his rant.
Weirder still is his attitude to quarantining arrivals into New Zealand. To him, keeping overseas arrivals isolated for 14 days is little more than a “glaringly audacious ploy to have us believe that a virus that is in a handful of isolation hotel dwellers really needs us lining up by the thousand to find out there isn’t an issue”.

That Hosking says this as a steady stream of arrivals test Covid-19  positive is astonishing. Do Hosking and Co think the Ministry of Health reports got faked so Jacinda could somehow gain political advantage? I’m wondering if Newstalk ZB believes the earth is flat too.

Why Newstalk ZB are giving Hosking and his far-right views oxygen is beyond comprehension

To his credit, Hosking does admit the economy is in tatters, even if he later quips that the government, “had their health curtain call, we’ve applauded. But they’re now milking the standing ovations for naked political advantage”.

You’d need to look very hard to see where any advantage lies. The economic wreckage scattered across New Zealand is in plain sight and hard to miss. With an election looming, things could get more than a little bumpy for the Government. National will use the state of the economy in a bid to lift their sagging polling three weeks out from the election. On what planet the current situation will ever play well for the Government is unknown. Still, we do know that it isn’t planet empathy – a place that Hosking and NewsTalk ZB doesn’t seem to inhabit.

Minimising the pandemic and its effects isn’t tone-deaf, it’s irresponsible. We’ve all seen how the second wave of Covid-19 engulfed Victoria. Infections and deaths continue to spiral out of control. Telling people that taking precautions and getting tested is little more than a political ploy could see many refuse to get tested, wear masks, etc.

Worse still, Hosking and Newstalk ZB handed conspiracists fuel for spreading disinformation. Either way, the consequences could be deadly. Should community Covid-19 transmission reoccur, more deaths are likely. This begs the following question get asked: What planet is Newstalk ZB on for publishing such irresponsible rubbish?
If this comes to pass, Newstalk ZB could find that grieving families are lining up to hold them to account. They might want to consider reining Hosking in.

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Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.


  1. Hosking is not and has never been a journalist; he is a propagandist – the local equivalent of Hannity and Carlson from Fox News. Like them, he sows disinformation to suit a particular political perspective – but his own “Trumpian” version. I fully expect him to promote disinfectant and internally administered sunshine as a cure for Covid; that would be consistent with any other of his views on how we should respond to the crisis.

  2. You lost me when you labelled Mr Hosking far right.
    That is a gross misuse of the term, used by yourself to scaremonger the public into believing there is a far right agenda here.
    Hosking can hardly be described as “far right”.
    A dick, yes.
    So show a little balance here, do not use the term “far right” when it is in no way applicable.

  3. Mr Pilcher, what you just said was the most incoherent rambling I have ever heard. At no point did you come close to making a valid argument. Everyone who reads this is now dumber from doing so. I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul

  4. Neil, Mike is actually a very capable journalist, just ask anyone who worked with him at rnz or tvnz.. When I worked with him on breakfast TV I was constantly impressed by his analytical capabilities and ability to craft a narrative…

  5. J you are of course welcome to your views (even if they are by my reckoning, completely wrong)…

  6. Well said Pat. And it’s not just Hosking who rants and raves on Newtalk ZB. Chuck in his wife and Du Plessis-Allen for starters. Must be fun in their staff room round the water cooler.

  7. Well, Patrick Pilcher, I’m a Kiwi sitting here in Surfers, concerned that Victoria’s second wave will cross NSW and hit QLD any time soon, and when I read Hosking’s inexplicable downplay of the very real possibility of infections flaring up again in NZL, as has happened elsewhere in the world, and negating the virtual eradication that has been achieved, the only conclusion anyone can come to is that wee Mike has been drinking the Trump branded Koolaid …

  8. But listen, Hosking’s dribble is nothing ~ if u want to hear pure unadulterated lunacy, just Google ” Pastor Greg Locke ” in the USA and prepare to be left dumbfounded and speechless …

  9. Just can’t understand whyZB n many New Zealanders ever hold him (Mike Hosking ) in such high esteem .Honestly he is just a empty vessel who tries to promote extreme / conspiracy ideas to maintain his status as he is fully aware that there are those with similar screwed up ideas .

  10. Mike has always been pro National and it’s very obvious. His screachings leading up to this election trying to discredit anything Jacinda and labour, shows just how desperate he is. The worst thing is that he actually believes all this tripe. Let him go. He mouths on and labour goes up in polls. Peter’s is the dark horse

  11. Thankyou Patrick for an article that hits the nail on the head so perfectly. I fear we’re heading down the road well trodden in American politics where the facts are no longer relevant and it’s all about who’s narrative spin can gain the most traction. National’s PR department at Newstalk ZB and the AM show have all been reading from the same talking point memo over the last couple of weeks, and I despair for the people that can’t see that this particular accusation contains not a shred of logic. Apparently, in Mike Hosking’s world, the government must perform admirably but must not hold any sort of press conference where people might conclude that they’re performing admirably, lest that influence their voting preference! They also are expected to keep the public informed and safe, but must not mention the risks to the public’s health or advise them how to be prepared as that will scare them. They must only every announce Covid policy or health risks once and never repeat that on a subsequent day as that is just milking it. I’m sure the Victorians are so thankful their government didn’t milk any of their public announcements. Saying it once and knowing the public had been informed worked wonders.

    People, you have every right to criticize Labour for policy failures, but don’t buy into corrupt political narratives like Hosking’s, McIvor’s and Garner’s. Apply some critical thought.

  12. Pretty much spot on with your analysis of both the “news” organization and its host- I would suggest you might want to revisit your use of is and journalist in the same sentence when describing Hosking- he may well have been a journalist but that career is very much in the past- for a long time he has been a ” commentator ” , and a particularly toxic one at that- he and those of his ilk are leading NZ down the same dangerous path that the US has been on for years and look where that’s led that nation- I have no time for his bullshit and I think for now at least the majority of New Zealanders feel the same

  13. Patrick

    Like you, I have constantly struggled to see why NewstalkZB and Messieur Hosking are given such a platform to peddle their treason- like bile. This virus is like a war, and Messieu Hosking and his far-right wing bigoted little minded twits have spent their entire efforts seeking to undermine the most successful pandemic-response Govt in the world.

    He is an unbelievably bigoted little prick and he probably secretly admires leaders USA’s Trump and Brazil’s Bolsonaro.

  14. Chuckle. Yes on a Wellington bound flight full of Wellingtonians I’m sure Mike Hoskings appears far right.

  15. Mike Hosking is not suitable for his job as a media personal. He is always one sided and talks nonsense most of the time and trying to show he knows better than scientists in respect of Covid.

  16. Rose, love your post… where’s the like button 🙂
    Sensibility is often labeled “far right”, lol.

  17. Labour have their journalists and followers just like National do and Mike Hosking is far from being on another planet in my opinion. As a reader he actually does make sense and is very funny in most cases and nobody is a fortune teller so at least he asks the questions instead of believing something that everybody with at least half an IQ knows doesn’t sound right. The moment you stop asking questions is when you are going to have serious issues. Whether or not he is right or wrong you have to ask yourself is he the only one ….. no far from it I certainly don’t get the impression from his articles that he is saying let’s open the borders like they were pre Covid or let’s start having Covid parties and by the looks of it other previous high ranking NZ ministers have questioned the border issue as well, especially if this goes on for years. Look at the whole picture instead of just one part.

  18. Torrie Hosting the snapping miniature handbag poodle of the Nasty Nat party…. Garner the vapid sad sack hound dog of morning TV… Duplesis hyphenated something or other person hypocrite…. Oh my gosh I need a ‘position on anything that’s opposite to PM’…. How the heck any sane person follows or listens to these ‘selfchamber echoists’ is laughable…. Mind you approx 30% still believe it’s still the colonialist era 1880’s…. Lead on PM Ardern… the covid world is real, does exist & is the the absolute priority…. everything else comes second third fourth etc…. Hosting & co should take their own Nasty party advice & ‘follow the Aussies’, leave now… go to Oz, US of Covid,UK of Covid their natural conservative run homelands…..

  19. Som? of the comments interesting.
    Best one is that this is not Journalism.
    It’s propoganda. Bang on.
    These people are inpenatrible.
    But take Ardern fór example.Tiwai aš a part of Transpower Network have been giving the Government hundred of millions from the profits.
    Rio Tínto paid the base cost plus ten %
    Thé Transmission was paid for in 10 months.
    And funded alot of the big projects including thé upgrade to thé DCLink on Cook Strait.

    The Government had been raping this industry for years and from the money much of the transmission funding had been paid when RIO go will Transpower shrink 15% of it’s executives in fat Salaries.

    The smelter is Visible.
    Gislinge is right about Labour and economies they havent got a clue.

    We need a better smarter Media.
    Get rid of these drongos surviving in advertising and no actual content o? Story.

  20. Thank Pat. I’m over personal agendas positioned as fact based news by our leading journalists. It’s all about click bait crap which leads to a misinformed public unless you seek to validate and read more than one perspective.

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