Week 1 of Breakfast with John Campbell is the best TV in NZ (how does The AM Show possibly compete?)


I feel torn.

I don’t want to gush over TVNZ Breakfast because it feels unkind to Jack Tame, who I regard as a gifted and talented broadcaster, but his replacement by John Campbell has produced a Breakfast show that has in just a week become the best TV on NZ screens right now.

It’s not just the laser like skill Campbell brings interviews which are of genuine quality, it’s his pure likability and wit which has managed to make Hayley, Matty and Daniel sparkle.

Maybe that’s Campbell’s true gift, to lead with such conviction he creates space where all other staff feel they can step up as well.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

It makes for a show that has enormous comedy value while being able to delve into issues with real insight. In short it is public broadcasting the way it should always have been done. It’s like Radio NZ without the broomstick up its arse.

How on earth can The AM Show possibly compete with such a perfect Breakfast Show? I think it will need to take a different tact.

If Breakfast is a conversation, The AM Show needs to be an argument. Look to this Thursday when Phil Goff goes up against John Tamihere for the first time. The AM Show needs to go from bright and breezy to angry and dark because it simply won’t be able to compete against Campbell’s affable nature. Garner needs to focus on conflict and open the show up to more fist banging on the kitchen table if he wants to compete.



  1. Good to see John Campbell back he really cares about us (NZers) and to me this is important. He also has good people around him.

  2. So good to hear this. We need some good news– but don’t be too hard on radio NZ. Without RNZ it would be like living on a desert island !!

    • Susan St John: “Without RNZ it would be like living on a desert island !!”

      Without the Concert programme, it’d be a wasteland. RNZ National, on the other hand, already is. Except for some of Morning Report and sometimes Checkpoint, I’ve largely given up on it: as far as I can tell, it’s infested with the woke Left. The programming reflects that.

      With regard to both Checkpoint and Morning Report, the presenters mostly do a reasonable job of actual journalism – analysis and critique – when they’re dealing with local affairs and politics.

      However: when it comes to international affairs and politics, they act like reporters, uncritically broadcasting whatever rubbish comes out of US, UK and European news outlets.

      Their latest dismal performance relates to what’s been going on in Venezuela. The US has a long history of egregious interference in south and central American polities; and in the Caribbean as well, of course. There have been many deaths in those countries as a result. Not that we’d know it from what’s broadcast by RNZ National.

      This information has been available for many years, courtesy of some US academics and historians, as well as a few dissident journalists and commentators such as Noam Chomsky (bless him). Many of us who aren’t journalists know about this stuff. Heck: many US citizens know about it as well. There’s no excuse for RNZ journos’ ignorance: I conclude that it’s wilful.

      At the time of the last US presidential election campaign, RNZ’s coverage was execrable. Its so-called journalists abandoned all pretence at analysis, in favour of variations on “Ooh, isn’t Trump AWFUL!”. I (and others, I’ve since discovered) contacted RNZ, imploring presenters to take a more sceptical approach to what was happening in the US. Some of us had been exploring alternative US news and blogsites, and we were forming a different impression from that reported by RNZ. I even sent them links. To no avail…

      The morning after the election – the results of which completely blindsided them – I texted Morning Report, wishing them good eating of that great big humble pie which I was sure they’d have in the studio. They didn’t read out my text….

      For many years, we have been systematically propagandised by RNZ news. It goes all the way back to my childhood in the Eisenhower years. I still listen to RNZ for coverage of local news and politics. But anent international affairs and politics, I look overseas – and not to mainstream msm – for information. God bless the internet.

      I’ve never watched daytime TV; but I may check out JC on TVNZ Breakfast, to see if it has anything to offer. In truth, I’m not hopeful.

  3. We know you are a Campbell fan Martyn, and having a leftie along side a former green MP wannabe and you all think it’s perfect….but 2 things will show you that Breakfast will not last and ratings will reduce after the novelty wears off:

    1: Campbell is not universally likes, you overestimate his appeal.
    2: He does not work well with others….he has always been a solo presenter (radio/TV) when he was most popular.

      • Yes Frank
        ‘I’m right’ is going ‘right down the gurgler’.

        Ha ha ha.

        John will bring balance to any front team.

        • I typed my reasoning Mark, shortly after Frank posted his ‘rebuttal’, and before your post appeared, but my post not published, wonder why?

  4. I tend to disagree, Breakfast is almost as superficial and crappy as it was before John Campbell took over from the other presenter, and the am show is just as crappy, perhaps a little bit more crappy.

    There is not much on NZ television that I bother watching, apart from the news (not for their quality, rather so I know what bits are spread here), The Nation and Q+A (at times), and the odd nature or other program.

    Hardly anything would deserve a five out of ten, and for international news I watch a bit of Al Jazeera, on Freeview, and for the rest I use the internet, accessing various international and local media, and of course blogs and the likes (at times journeying via You Tube).

    John Campbell does at times appear pathetic to me, trying to give a professional impression, he started to tire me at RNZ in the end (on Checkpoint), now he is at TVNZ, which appears to be a career move, as he seems to prefer TV to radio and the rest.

  5. Today 7th May 2019 was the best hard hitting action from John Campbell I have seen to date.

    He ripped into the Christchurch debate and had Dame Sylvia Cartwright on the show “to boot” talking about the upcoming ‘class action’ lawsuit going against Government agency “Southern Response”.

    Hard hitting stuff worth a watch.


    John Campbell exclusive: Major Australian law firm backing around 3000 Canterbury homeowners in class action against Southern Response


  6. John Campbell is one of New Zealand’s best investigative mainstream journalists. Pity I don’t watch tv much. Miss him on RNZ.

  7. and may that southern response rip off lead right back to the National Government so we can finally have some accountability on something!

  8. I wondered whether the professionalism of the original presenters would be lifted to that of John, or John would be dragged down and diluted to mediocrity by the others, the scripts and the stories. I think it has settled somewhere in between. Still has the feel of John the adult supervising the after party though.

  9. Hang on a minute all you John Campbell knockers… I met him a few times doing security at TV3,… and I found him nice. I tested him, as he merrily bounced his way through the doors without even a hint of remembering he needed to sign in .. I said, ‘ excuse me mate,… you need to sign in’…

    He was a little gushy but very polite , compliant and amiable.

    He really is a good sort.

    I never used to like him much ,… but after I started being more politically aware after I got a computer, learnt how to use one way back when , … and saw what was happening to Kim Dotcom firstly and then at Pike River … I became an avid fan of his.

    Funny thing was ,.. it was a tough hard headed ex army boss I had that supported Kim Dotcom ,… and that inspired me to start reading and reading… then sticking up for Dotcom on Whaleoil as that was the only political blog that came up back then when I searched . I was new at ‘searching’ as well .

    They abused me roundly but I batted them back and you could tell they were getting pissed. I was like a dog with a bone and the more they railed the more determined I got. As far as political awakening for me?…the rest is history.

    Haven’t had a TV in decades , but we do have You tube, don’t we.

    And on those You tube channels , – there for all posterity , – is John Campbell and Campbell Live. The penny may take a long time to drop for me but Campbell is essential for this nations journalistic health. Like others such as Kim Hill. They don’t mess around and they don’t ponce around with the issues.

    I am so glad we have John Campbell back after the Stephen Joyce manipulations to remove him and the John Key support of Joyce’s machinations… this is a time of healing for NZ and a type of cathartic release from those odious years of the Key led govt.

    Its a sign of the utter rejection of all that John Key and his corrupt Dirty Politics govt stood for and a time of real cleansing.

    And that’s fine with me.

    • Grazie for your story. Agree about the importance of John and Kim in the media. Also Pam Corkery for me before talkback host meant tool for the rich.

      Our bought-off rulers believed in their tosh, better than America where money came first and second and on. Thanks to Ballance and Savage who established a community of ideals.

  10. Initial reaction to your headline and sub-headline is it was a great relief to be rid of him from RNZ 5-6.30 pm show. Didn’t know this til his replacement came in. Over-ponderous, talking of stick up the arse. Good frenetic energy now without the over emphasis on court cases of John Campbell’s predecessor. Glad he’s found somewhere more suited.

Comments are closed.