Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is suing top broadcaster Mike Hosking and media company NZME for defamation.

Proceedings filed in the High Court at Auckland earlier this year allege material in an episode of Mike's Minute, broadcast on Newstalk ZB and published on the NZ Herald website in December 2018, "recklessly" defamed Tamihere.

Hosking and Herald parent company NZME deny Tamihere's claims and are defending the case.

The comments in question related to $600,000 of taxpayer money paid through Te Puni Kokiri as part of the Whanau Ora programme.

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Hosking - who hosts the Mike Hosking Breakfast show on Newstalk ZB - is listed as the first defendant. Newstalk ZB parent company NZME Radio Ltd and NZ Herald publisher NZME Publishing Limited are listed as second and third defendants.

Mike Hosking at work in the Newstalk ZB studio. Photo / Michael Craig
Mike Hosking at work in the Newstalk ZB studio. Photo / Michael Craig

Tamihere has been a Herald columnist, a former broadcaster and former MP. He is contesting this year's Auckland mayoral race against incumbent mayor and former Labour Party colleague Phil Goff.

A spokesman for Tamihere declined to comment because the matter was before the courts. Hosking said he had no comment to make at this stage.

In a statement, NZME general counsel Allison Whitney said: "NZME and Mike Hosking are defending the defamation claim. As the matter is before the courts, we will not be making any further comment at this time."