Spat over television interview intensifies

By Amy McGillivray

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Minister Simon Bridges accused  Campbell Live  of having a "slant" on the issue of oil and gas. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Minister Simon Bridges accused Campbell Live of having a "slant" on the issue of oil and gas. Photo / Glenn Taylor

Campbell Live has again hit out at Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, saying he should perhaps reconsider his role as a Cabinet minister if he continues to make himself unavailable for an interview.

But Mr Bridges has responded, suggesting the show was more melodrama than current affairs.

The spat between Campbell Live and Mr Bridges continued yesterday after the Bay of Plenty Times published an article on their standoff.

Mr Campbell essentially accused the minister of being incompetent after he failed to return calls to comment on stories aired on Monday and Tuesday night's shows.

Mr Bridges then accused Campbell Live of having a "slant" on the issue of oil and gas and said he was out of the country during Tuesday night's show and would only agree to a live interview because he feared his comments would be cut down to an embarrassing few seconds.

Campbell Live executive producer Pip Keane called Mr Bridges' response "ridiculous".

"He is a Cabinet minister who is accountable to the people of New Zealand," she said.

"We have been working on this Anadarko oil story for more than a week and we have called his press secretary, Lucy, repeatedly; we have also emailed and called Mr Bridges directly on his mobile and he has chosen not to respond.

"Repeatedly we have offered him a live interview."

Mr Bridges had also refused to discuss the issue of a living wage for parliamentary cleaners on the show and had still not made a decision about Dunedin man Alan Dunlop who has been without power for three months, she said. Mr Dunlop's power company applied to Mr Bridges for an exemption not to reconnect his power after a storm because it was not financially viable.

"If Mr Bridges continues to make himself unavailable, perhaps he needs to reconsider his role as a Cabinet Minister."

Mr Bridges said: "I think Campbell Live is proving it's more of a melodrama series than a current affairs show. I'm not going to get into some kids' stuff argument with them. If it's a serious, considered interview that's live and unedited, I'm likely to."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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