Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking has responded to criticism about him hosting TVNZ's upcoming election debates.

Winston Peters yesterday slammed Hosking's selection to host TVNZ's election debate, saying he is right-leaning and a "wholly unsuitable" choice, but Hosking says Peters was simply jealous of not getting onto the stage himself.

TVNZ head of current affairs John Gillespie confirmed Hosking will present three debates in the run-in to the September 23 election.

Hosking also hosted the election debates in 2014.

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The debates include two sessions where leaders Jacinda Ardern and Bill English will square off - August 31 and September 20 - and a multi-party debate with other party leaders on September 8.

Peters said New Zealanders were "tired of [Hosking's] brand of broadcasting".

Winston Peters says Mike Hosking is biased and right-leaning and shouldn't be given the job of moderating the debates. Photo/file
Winston Peters says Mike Hosking is biased and right-leaning and shouldn't be given the job of moderating the debates. Photo/file

"This goes to the nub of the matter. At election time there is a standard of fairness and balance to be set by broadcasters. The choice of Mr Hosking breaks all those."

Peters urged TVNZ to give a seat to minor parties, including his, for the debate.

An online petition is also circulating calling on TVNZ to cut Hosking from the state broadcaster's election coverage.

When questioned about Peters' comments this morning on Newstalk ZB, Nadine Chalmers-Ross said she'd just finished sticking up for her co-host on air and asked him if the moderator determined the outcome of an election.

"To be fair, I don't think people are up in arms," Hosking said.

"I think what you've got is Winston who does this same thing, different election. He did it last time around.

"His big beef seems to be that he wants to be on the big stage with [Labour and National] and it was never going to happen, is never going to happen. It is what it is, so he needs some attention."

Hosking recalled how the Labour Party and its then leader David Cunliffe were aggrieved at him hosting the debate in 2014.

"But we got that sorted out as well. It all works out well in the end, it's just an election. Everyone was worried and after it was just fine."

Hosking believed he ran a "reasonable sort of debate" last time and expects this year's debates to be even bigger.

"To be fair, and without blowing my own trumpet in any way shape or form, which I would never do, I think at the end of the day it was widely considered that we ran a pretty reasonable sort of debate.

"The other thing is, it rated through the roof, they were huge numbers last time and the irony was this time we're thinking 'how's this going to go?'. I think it's going to be bigger than last time, there's even more interest in it."

He said people would complain no matter who the moderator was.

"That's the way it works."