While some people are getting worked up about Mike Hosking hosting the leaders' debates again this election, little concern is being expressed that the country is again being presented with centrist political leaders at the helm of parties both devoted to market-led policies.

 TVNZ RECENTLY announced that Mike "I'm not a journalist" Hosking would again be moderating the election debates this year and many people aren't happy about it.

This week I got an email from Action Station inviting me to sign the petition calling for a replacement for Hosking. Why do Action Station want him replaced?

"Hosking is well known for his aggressively polarising views and he cannot be trusted to present each candidate fairly in a moderated debate."

Over 6,000 people have signed the petition but I won't be one of them. I loathe Mike Hosking with a passion that would see him thrown into the fires of Hell to burn for all eternity, but I can't get worked up about him playing nursemaid to Jacinda and Bill.

The fact is that these debates are tightly formatted and Hosking's job is merely to ask the questions and ensure that the debate moves through the schedule of issues set down for debate. Very importantly, Hosking must also signal the commercial breaks.

That was pretty much what happened when Hosking moderated the debates between John Key and David Cunliffe. It can't be said that Cunliffe was put at a disadvantage just because Hosking was asking the questions.

Hosking is not going to suddenly burst into one of his 'Mike's Minutes' or Seven Sharp diatribes. The inevitable criticisms he has for Jacinda Ardern and Labour will heard on his Newstalk ZB breakfast show the next day.

What really annoys me about these debates is not Mike Hosking but the two political leaders who want me to vote for them. Once again we're stuck with two tediously centrist leaders engaged in close hand-to-hand combat as they seek out a decisive advantage over the other. If this is supposed to convince that voting makes any damn difference then, sorry, I ain't buying. And I doubt that the other million missing voters will be convinced either.

The political bias of Mike Hosking pales into insignificance compared to the failure of our so-called "representative democracy'


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