Top 10 NZ TV news shows


Q+A and The Nation return for 2017 this month, so the line up of political news shows on TV amounts to a dozen shows in an Election Year.

How fucking depressing.

TDB is still trying to start a weekly live streamed panel show for the election – details soonish.

So here’s the 12 NZ mainstream media news shows ranked from worst to best

TDB Recommends

12: TVNZ Breakfast – TVNZ – 6am weekdays

It’s just such a hot mess. They laugh at each other all the time, like it’s an adult christian What Now show for 30 year old virgins. It’s as much fun as slamming your hand in the door repeatedly. I just have no idea who this show is supposed to appeal to? Drunk children? Elderly pets? The incredibly lonely? It has no insight, no intellectual depth, no focus.

It’s a void.

Hillary’s great during a National Emergency, but hoping for a earthquakes and tsunami just to see a good show seems churlish.

Hillary and Jack and incredible talents and watching them not use those talents every morning is just too depressing to watch.


11: Seven Sharp – TVNZ – 7pm weekdays

In terms of the ethos of the Fourth Estate, Seven Sharp deserves to be on a constant loop in hell.

This bastardisation of current affairs represents a hate crime against public broadcasting, it is the antithesis of holding the powerful to account because one of the powerful is doing all the holding.

Mike Hosking is Mr Establishment and expecting The Man to police The Man is as unlikely as Donald Trump winning the Nobel Prize in Science.

The preppy co-host is demeaning.

This was their big story a couple of weeks ago…

…Seven Sharp represent everything that is wrong with public broadcasting.


10: The Project – Three – 7pm weekdays

Is this even still on? The ratings have plummeted, it is starting to sound frantic on screen, they have utterly missed the point that people in NZ watch News in an election year to actually be informed of what’s going on. We still have one of the highest participation rates in the Western world, yet TV3 think 7 Days style jokes and lots of pace will somehow be enough.

They are aiming for The Edge radio audience without appreciating that age group barley look at TV.

They are appealing to a Millennial age group who don’t use their technology platform while alienating all those Gen Y, Gen X and Boomer audience who still do.

It is difficult seeing this survive to the election. They zigged when they should have zagged. Ratings will continue to plunge, there will be a panicked reshuffle of things, it will continue to tank, and then they will sack everyone and re-launch it in time for the Election as the Paul Henry Show at 7pm.


9: The AM Show – Three – 6am weekdays

I honestly haven’t watched Duncan or heard him for quiet a while, so was really surprised by how awful he is on screen with The AM Show.

He asks dumb questions, makes dumb comments, and always has the strain of being on his best behaviour lest his boorish-ness accidentally farts out his mouth. He’s like constipation, in that watching him is mildly irritating and discomforting at the same time.

That said, he’s a billion times better than TVNZ Breakfast.

The Sportsboofhead needs to shut up a lot more. Like a lot more.

Poor old Amanda Gillies, she’s an actual journalist and doesn’t deserve this.

Watching Lisa Owen forced to sit in on their political panel debate was funny last week. The obvious distaste she has for Duncan’s stupid questions was the highlight of the season so far.


8: The Nation – Three – 9am Saturday

If you like your politics as a blood sport, The Nation is the place. Paddy Gower, like a homicidal chipmunk on meth with a machine gun, mauls idiot politicians dumb enough to turn up on this poorly watched politics geek show.

The panel is still the same list of commentators Tim Watkin left them with which makes most of the debate look and sound stale because we’ve all heard those opinions a million times.

They got a million from NZ on Air for this. It’s so depressing.


7: Marae – TVNZ – 10am Saturday

Banished to a time slot so that it can be ignored, TVNZs Marae is still a bloody good show. Plenty of new blood and proven talent, this election will be decided in part by where the Maori Electorates go, which makes a show like Marae crucial viewing this year if you want an idea of how the Maori electorates will vote come September.


6: Prime News – Prime – 5.30pm weekdays

Under a deal between TV3 and Prime, TV 3 produce this and it’s pretty much just TV3 Newshub but done 30 minutes earlier without all the big NewsHub names. Normally this wouldn’t mean much, but NewsHub at 6 is such a bloody good news show, their Prime TV wrap around knock-off is better than most everyone else.

Prime and Sky are really missing an opportunity with local News programmes, it’s odd they don’t see the potential in an election year.


5: Te Kaea – Maori TV – 10.30pm weekdays

Maori TVs main news show. Piripi Taylor, Rahia Timutimu seems wasted so late at night, but it is one of those treasure trove shows that cover news no one else does. Thankfully they have sub-titles for those of us not fluent in Te Reo, it’s diversity of perspectives and stories is real flax-root journalism at its best. You will see issues covered and debated on Te Kaea that you won’t see anywhere else.


4: The Hui – Three – 9.30am Sunday

Last year we gave The Hui the best current affairs Award in 2016. This incredible team of journalists continues to create the best quality public broadcasting. Why they are dumped off into nowhere land on a Sunday morning is an insult to the work they create and the audience who want to watch it. Why this team hasn’t been borough into save 7pm is beyond us all here at TDB. They made the best current affairs on TV last year and I hope they can maintain that sharpness of critique in an election year.


3: 1 News at 6pm – TVNZ – 6pm weekdays

Despite all that I will say and complain about TVNZ Breakfast, the total truth is that their flagship 1 News at 6pm is still the majestic grande old dame of NZ TV news. It’s not the hosts who make this show a daily must watch, it’s the array of some of the best journalists NZ has to offer working their trade. Andrea Vance, Katie Bradford, the brilliant Barbara Dreaver, Alison Pugh, Yvonne Tahana, Rebecca Wright, Paul Hobbs, Nicole Bremner, Melissa Stokes, Jenny-May Clarkson, Helen Castles and Jessica Mutch are all some of the best journalists NZ has, and they make this TV news show one of the best in the game.

If only they could stop the inane banter chatter crap between the hosts, it’s demeaning to them and the viewers.


2: Q+A – TVNZ – 9am Sunday

Jessica Much, the super talented Corin Dann and Greg Boyd (who was mercifully released from the hell of Seven Sharp) have managed to make Q+A the best panel political show in the game. There is a depth of panelists and breadth of opinion that seems to make The Nation look parochial in comparison. Dann asks questions very straight and then always follows up with a hammer punch of well researched questions. It has none of the splatter of a Gower interview, but you get far more actual information out of the interview. Their panels are the best in the business.


1: Newshub on Three – 6pm weekdays

Somehow, amongst all the wreckage and destruction of the news department at three with the bastardisation of The Project, The AM Show and their lacklustre The Nation, someone has decided to do some actual journalism at 6pm on Three.

They have managed more scoops and breaking news stories than the others and they are constantly coming up with new and clever insights.

The high standard of journalism each story manages is in part I am sure to Mike McRoberts. Mike is unique within the newsreader family in that he was a journalist first. Mike’s journalistic sensibilities seem to have shaped their news style and who ever is providing the behind the scenes leadership should be congratulated.

NewsHub on Three have become the last news show worth watching on Three and they are perfectly placed to do some excellent coverage of the election.



  1. In my view the last six do all deserve to go on the last spot, and the first six can be argued about, but NONE are actually good current affairs shows these days, none.

  2. Breakfast on TV1 need to release Hillary Barry from her contract and bring back Nadine Chalmers to co host with Jack Tame.
    Get the young ones in there!! They are much more fun and lively!!
    Chalmers was good. Insightful and intelligent like Tame, but unfortunately was linked in with Rawdon Christie.
    Barry’s mummsy approach and lack of chemistry is just not working and she comes across like a school headmistress a lot of the time .
    I think she spent too much time with Paul Henry !
    Also the seating arrangement is all wrong …. All perched up there in a row …. It looks about as convivial as a 1960’s country dance hall .
    Two armchair seats and a curved couch is much more inviting.

    In my books ‘7 Sharp’ is the worst. The insufferable supercilious Hosking with the mummsy Toni Street.
    Crikey dick !… Where to they find these people ?.. is that the best N.Z has to offer. Do Kiwi’s really watch that garbage? It’s just an insult.

    ‘The Project’ , N.Z model, is not even a shadow of the Aussie’s version.
    A lot of the Aussie personal spent years cutting their teeth on the ‘Rove’ show , hence they have the quickness of wit and personalities required to make a show like this watchable every night… and it is a good watch.
    We sadly do not have anyone of their calibre, hence the big failure.

    Bring back ‘Campbell Live’ !!

  3. If the two six o’clock TV informercial programmes are at number one and three, it shows how low standards have become.
    Both are absolutely dreadful, the amount of actual news in them is minuscule. The bulk is ads, the weather and promos. The most commonly heard phrase is “coming up after the break…”
    In any case I never get through more than about 10 minutes of TV 1 because that dickhead Hosking usually appears about that time and whenever he appears TV 1 has lost me for the rest of the night.

  4. Newshub on Three travelling nicely along the road, and suddenly a sharp pothole. The uncomfortable, jarring, rasping pothole of Paddy Gower.

  5. On anm episode of ‘The Project’ last week, they had a muppet on the panel. No, not Patrick Gower or Paul Henry – an actual hand-puppet.

    A hand-puppet. On a supposed news programme.

    It encapsulates everything wrong with mainstream TV current affairs programming.

    The movie ‘Idiocracy’ is upon us.

  6. I got barred from commenting on on News Hub’s Facebook page for something I wrote about the T.P.P.A. News Hub don’t like opposition on their Facebook page. In fact it was not even News Hub that did it, but 3 News.

    So, I find it strange you have put them at the top of this squirming heap when they – I have heard of others as well being blocked – show an intolerance for diversity of opinion.

    Anything involving dear ol’ Paddy should be near the Mike Hosking end of the scale. He is at least as bad as Mike and just as deserving of having his mouth rinsed.

  7. After 3 weeks in the UK marvelling in the delights of BBC and ITV news, my first night back in NZ I made the stupid mistake of watching One News and within minutes had to physically leave the room.

    I’m aware that NZ news had been dumbed down years ago, but it took the contrast with UK news- and to a degree Australian news- to really understand that ours is aimed at the very lowest denominator and is downright patronising. And what’s with the obsession of needing to interview eyewitness for their opinion about everything, even if they didn’t actually see anything, and have nothing to contribute to the story? Then it’s edited down to a 5 second soundbite so no new information is actually forthcoming. Interesting how the people selected for the vox pox don’t as a rule tend to be terribly articulate a lot of the time. Maybe those who can be don’t want their 15 seconds of fame?

    Strictly RNZ for my NZ news now, abandoned NZ tv “news” a long time ago until they can start treating us as intelligent adults again. I feel very sorry for the good jornalists that have decided to stick around- many have left and you can’t blame them- but they need to be allowed to do their jobs.

  8. I have somehow managed to not see a single episode of either Seven Sharp or The Project this year.
    I have glanced at The Am Show from time to time, but find Duncan utterly insufferable (just like he was on Story). He asks the stupidest questions in the stupidest manner (to say “like a small child”, would actually be an insult to small children). His general knowledge seems almost non-existent to a genuinely embarrassing degree – I doubt he even knows the difference between a virus and a bacteria, or hydrogen and helium, stars and planets, for example. You can actually feel yourself getting dumber listening to Duncan talk.
    Breakfast is a train wreck to be sure, but Barry and Tame at least have more than a single braincell between them.

  9. The News channels have to be the most light weight of watches.
    Lack of original content ( mostly re-hashed MSM BBC, CNN, FOX etc )
    with their one eyed view of the world and little or no debate puts them at the bottom of the heat in my opinion.

    Don’t agree on the journos either . Key enjoyed 8 years of soft interviews
    by what seemed his fan club rather than investigative journalists.

  10. REALLY Martyn,
    One would hope you ONLY watch TV – in order to monitor the programming of the Collective mind , -whilst keeping your own mind, separate, independent & sacrosanct.

    I feel that you have not succeeeded in achieving this.
    I feel that you have been absorbing FAR TOO MUCH Telly. (=False Perception of Reality)
    and that this is continually undermining your perceptions –
    EG your FALSE belief that “voting” makes any difference to the Future of New Zealand


  11. Martyn i have to disagree with your view about what constitutes good journalism by your selection in the One News category.

    I have watched how some of these people have behaved before and after the election of the current government.

    They are overtly right wing and its so blatant.

    Corin Dann has licked the boots of Key and many of his ministers with a go easy interview style never really putting them under pressure to get answers on many controversial issues that have taken place in the last eight years.
    His political reporting of a government event is to admonish slightly but then sing their praises with an overt political bias.

    His venom was clearly on display when interviewing anyone unfortunate enough to agree to his interrogation that is from the left of politics.
    His bullying, intimidation and just plain rudeness was embarrassing to watch and at this point in the electoral cycle 8 years ago under the Labour led government he never gave any of them one inch, a totally different approach to the criminals of this administration.

    Katie Bradford does not hide her enthusiasm for for the government but will put the boot in to Lab-Grn at any opportunity with a negative put down of anything they say or do.

    Sue Bradford must be wondering where she got her daughter from, maybe the hospital made a mistake and gave her the wrong one !

    TVNZ i always believed was a PUBLIC service provider and political bias should not come into it when their responsibility is to the New Zealand public to present the news not be an agent for the government of the day spreading propaganda left or right.

    Jessica Much lost any integrity she might of had by her behaviour with John Key covering his overseas trips.
    There was no serious , professional in depth interviewing we had come to expect in years gone by.
    She was far more interested in acting the goat and indulging Key with his own stupid behaviour than actually doing her well paid job.

    However i agree that Barbera Dreaver and Yvonne Tahana and all the others with the exception of Andrea Vance are good journalists.

    The fact that Paddy gower the “chipmunk on meth” ( shit Martyn how perceptive) is still operating after his appalling treatment of Cunliffe publicly calling him a liar on live tv was despicable and offensive and proved to be a jack up after the facts came out that Cunliffe in fact was not lying but the damage inflicted by the pack of hyenas has the desired effect.

  12. Yes we have these silly shows but we have Sky Australia on SKy they simply dont care about as it all about them in Australia. Current Affairs shows in NZ are Auckland based and about Auckland Sky News Australia is based in Sydney it about Sydney see more point.

  13. What about Checkpoint? It’s televised, on every weekday and it’s the only televised news I can watch.

    • Indeed, Cagey. It is televised news without frills and made-up presenters. When I first watched John Campbell, Katrina Batten, et al, it reminded me of TV news as it used to be presented once upon a time…

      I prefer it to TV1 or TV3 televised news any time.

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