Mike Hosking says people up in arms about the BBC pay gap debate misunderstand the role of a newsreader and why people can't be paid the same for the job.

Hosking, speaking on Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking Breakfast show, said: "The argument that two newsreaders should get the same is to completely misunderstand the role of the newsreader and why they're there."

He was "calling out" Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett's pay equity speech delivered last week, which lamented the 12 per cent wage gap between men and women and the fact it hasn't changed in many years.

"She offered no solutions, largely because, short of ludicrous amounts of artificiality and intervention there are no obvious solutions," Hosking said.


Hosking said the wage gap was a very complex area, which is why it hasn't been improved in many years.

"It is women employed in largely female industries getting paid poorly and then getting measured or averaged out against all the work men do, which is largely in different industries."

Last week the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of top employees and the fact it paid male newsreaders and presenters more than female stars was uncovered.

"On the surface it turns out the highest-paid people are the men and the assumption is made that people doing the same job should get paid the same money," Hosking said.

"In an artistic pursuit like newsreading it is simply not the case."

Hosking said no job is worth the same money for whoever does it.

"A job varies in value because the outworkings of that job might well vary widely depending on who does it," he said.

"Age and experience might play a role but, speaking from experience, factors like skill and market demand play far greater roles.


"Simply doing the job isn't enough to automatically collect top dollar."

Hosking said hiring talent from another organisation requires "a premium" and retaining talent also "requires a pay rise".

'Many things go into a salary and very rarely does any of it have anything to do with whether you're a man or a woman.

"Sexism seems increasingly used as an excuse for market reality."

Hosking said in New Zealand there are countless examples that the pay gap isn't holding women back from achieving.

"In this country it is indisputably true you can be anything you want, from Prime Minister down."