Rachel Smalley in hot water after asking Gerry Brownlee whether he’s a cunt

Smalley says the question to Mr. Brownlee was appropriate, “given the circumstances.”

Smalley says the question to Mr. Brownlee was appropriate, “given the circumstances.”

TV3 Presenter and host of The Nation Rachel Smalley has been called on to apologise over a weeks-old interview in which she asked Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee whether he was a “horrible cunt.”

“Uh… No,” said Brownlee at the time. “I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that.”

Neither Mr. Brownlee nor his office have since made any complaints about the question, but the interview has been dragged into the spotlight again this week by National MP Tau Henare, who has made clear via Twitter that he believes the question was offensive, and that Smalley should apologise.

So far Smalley has refused to do so, and has said she believes the question to have been appropriate, “given the circumstances.”

The interview was a generic profile on Gerry Brownlee as a minister and politician, and it is presently unclear what circumstances she was referring to.

TV3’s director of news Mark Jennings defended Smalley earlier this morning.

“I think what she’s trying to say is that, when you’re interviewing someone like Gerry Brownlee, who some people believe is a raging cunt, it’s important to get his perspective on the matter,” said Jennings. “After all, he ought to know.”

This isn’t the first time that Smalley has courted controversy with her lines of questioning. Just prior to the Brownlee interview, she got into trouble when she asked Education Minister Hekia Parata if she was “a bitch to work for,” but has so far faced no criticism for another interview in which she asked Labour leader David Shearer if he was a “pathetic, dunderheaded push-over,” to which he replied “Yes.”