Broadcaster Mike Hosking has given a "small clarification" - but not an apology - over his on-air comments about who can vote for the Maori Party.

Last night he said to Toni Street, his co-presenter on Seven Sharp, "you can't vote for the Maori Party because you're not enrolled on the Maori electorate".

That has upset the Maori Party, whose co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the damage was done.

"You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. There will be some who watched last night's show, who don't watch it tonight," Flavell said.

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"The information Mr Hosking gave out last night was misleading and irresponsible. He should do his homework ... he is just plain incompetent - pure and simple."

A spokeswoman for TVNZ said earlier it accepted that Hosking's comments were inaccurate.

"We will make a clarification on tonight's show to clear up any confusion. We advised the Maori Party that we would be setting the record straight on tonight's show a couple of hours before they issued their media release."

On tonight's show, Hosking told viewers: "Small clarification for you.

"Now last night in a throw-away line I appear to have confused the Maori Party around the rules of voting in MMP.

"What I was suggesting, what I was meaning, was that the Maori Party, as their representation stands, is an electorate party.

The comments upset the Maori Party, whose co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the damage was done. Photo / Stephen Parker
The comments upset the Maori Party, whose co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the damage was done. Photo / Stephen Parker

"In other words they are only in Parliament because they won an electorate seat. Therefore what I said in referring to voting for them was to vote for them in a Maori electorate you had to be on the Maori roll, which is true.

"Now the fact that anyone can vote for them as a list party I automatically assumed we all knew, given we've been doing it for 20 years for goodness sake and it went without saying.

"So hopefully that clears all of that up."

Earlier, Flavell questioned the choice of Hosking to host three upcoming debates in the run-in to the September 23 election.

Those will include two leaders' debates on August 31 and September 20 with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern, and a multi-party debate with other party leaders on September 8.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has also criticised the selection of Hosking as host, saying he is right-leaning and a "wholly unsuitable" host.