Skycity's cheerleaders made a primetime television appearance on Friday night - but none of them was wearing a skirt.

Close Up presenter Mike Hosking interviewed members of the successful SkyCity Breakers basketball team.

But despite the transparency TVNZ promised over the broadcaster's links to the casino, no conflict of interest was declared.

The Herald on Sunday has in recent weeks revealed details of Hosking's celebrity deal with SkyCity - and TVNZ, unaware of the links, said they had agreed with Hosking that he would no longer handle items about SkyCity.


Maybe interviews with the Breakers, sponsored by the casino, don't count. TVNZ spokeswomen Megan Richards and Stephanie Taylor did not return calls yesterday to clarify if there were concerns about Hosking having interviewed Breakers players Dillon Boucher and Gary Wilkinson after their victory in the first game of the Australian NBL grand final. SkyCity's logo was visible in footage of the game and on the players' shirts during the interview.

Whitireia Polytechnic head of Journalism Jim Tucker said TVNZ's response to the SkyCity affair was inadequate. "A journalist can either do any story that comes along or they can't. As soon as you are in some way compromised by any commercial deal, then your reputation as a journalist faces some risk.

" I have enormous respect for Mike ... but it's a concern."

TV3 news boss Mark Jennings said the situation at Close Up was untenable.

"My view is that Hosking should not be on the programme. He's on the payroll of a major company that is not his employer. If Mike Hosking is a journalist, then he should not be on the payroll of SkyCity."