Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says New Zealand media has a problem with the way it covers race relation issues.
His comments follow a Television New Zealand Close Up debate in which John Ansell, a right wing blogger, and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira were pitted against each other.
The debate, which was supposed to focus on an asset sale hikoi, deteriorated into Mr Ansell and Mr Harawira knocking heads.
Mr de Bres says this is typical of New Zealand media that gives plenty of coverage to controversial figures making strong statements rather than focussing on the actual story.
He says this kind of coverage harms race relations and the media need to think whether they are being responsible before repeating such a debate.