Best broadcaster?

Broadcasters are sometimes known to have egos. Henry is one of New Zealand’s more prominent broadcasters, if you can call breakfast television prominent, but is he the best?

I’m sure that the majority at The Standard wouldn’t agree.

Who is New Zealand’s best broadcaster rather than biggest blowhard?

How can the best be measured? Is there any point, apart from broadcasters and their companies doing self promotion?

I have often found Henry irritating rather than best, although he has improved since it was announced that he was leaving the Paul Henry Show.

I think the best broadcasters are those who can present important news and issues, explore them, examine them and hold people to account, as unobtrusively as possible.

Henry tries to make things too much about him rather than about news and issues, so I don’t think he’s the best.

I’m not going to try to name a ‘best broadcaster’. There isn’t one, they all have their strengths and weaknesses – and it shouldn’t be about them.

But I’ll put in a mention for John Campbell. I’m not a fan of his effusive and at times over the top activism journalism.

Collins: “I am polarising”

Judith Collins has just been on Paul Henry. It was a friendly environment for her because Henry is openly a fan of hers. She has promoted “I am polarising” but her performance suggested otherwise.

I have to say that Collins presented herself very very well.


Her visuals have deliberately softened her image, quite feminine which I guess is to contrast with the two blokes, Bill English and Jonathan Coleman. Smart.

But most impressive is the calm clear determined way she speaks. No bull.

Ironically she says she is polarising – I guess she could be to an extent – but has done a lot in this appearance to appear non-polarising and non-threatening.

Henry put her on the spot once, asking what she would do about Pike River. She didn’t avoid the question, she stated that she thinks it is too risky to enter the mine and it should be closed up as a permanent tomb.

There’s no doubt that Collins offers the biggest change for National and for Government. Coleman and English will struggle to differentiate themselves from each other and from the same old.

Collins would be a risk for National. John Key was a risk.

There is probably a bigger risk if National appears to be much the same but minus Key. They could easily lose the public next year.

I think that Collins looks up for the challenge and a real prospect if National wants real renewal.

Collins versus Andrew Little, Collins versus Winston Peters, Collins versus Metiria Turei, that would make next year’s election a really interesting contest.

I’m not backing Collins, just saying that she has impressed (and I don’t get to choose anyway). I’ll evaluate how Coleman and English present themselves too.

If you are interested in the National leadership check out Collins’ interview when it’s up on Newshub.

Paul Henry no show?

MediaWorks is trying to avoid speaking about this but it’s been reported that the Paul Henry Show may soon be no show.

NZ Herald: Paul Henry to leave TV3; Duncan Garner to take over morning show

Less than two years after he launched his eponymous breakfast show, Paul Henry is understood to be stepping down from the role.

The outspoken broadcaster will leave the network at the end of the year, according to sources, with Duncan Garner taking over his morning hosting duties.

Insiders have told The Herald an official announcement is due to be made on Thursday, following the US election and the release of the final radio survey results for the year.

A Henry exit wouldn’t surprise me after an outspoken Henry interview recently – Paul Henry’s most offensive interview yet.

In that it sounded like Henry was talking himself out of his job.

During the interview, Henry admitted he was not loving his job. When asked why he continued to do it, he replied: “Because I’ve boxed myself into it and because I have an obligation to do it.”

Sometimes Henry can be very good, and often he can be awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if his minion hosts question fronting up so early in the morning to be a part of his dissatisfactions.

I find TV1’s Breakfast bland and boring, but Henry is too often too opinionated and makes it too much about him. I want to be informed, not be an audience for an ego.

I won’t be disappointed if it becomes the Paul Henry No Show. Garner would have to be better, unless Newshub tries to copy TV1’s banality.

UPDATE: Spinoff – When Paul Henry let rip that obnoxious Herald rant he was already through with TV3

Former Mediaworks news chief Mark Jennings writes on the background to the departure of TV3’s heaviest hitter, the huge hole it leaves, and the challenge ahead for heir apparent Duncan Garner.

When Paul Henry’s expletive-laden interview appeared in the New Zealand Herald eight days ago it looked like a clear case of presentercide.

By deliberately labelling people as “morons” and suggesting to the Heraldreporter that he check out the “perfect titties” of the woman at the next table, Henry was performing a kind of career kamikaze act – openly saying to his bosses at Mediaworks, “C’mon, shoot me now!”.

The fact that they responded with a weak “we don’t condone offensive behaviour” was telling.

They knew, of course, that he was already gone.

It’s dollars to doughnuts that Henry had quit before his verbal rant in the Federal Deli made its way into print.

Congratulating Paul Henry

In a possibly controversial interview Paul Henry congratulates himself and hates on many others.

NZ Herald: Paul Henry reveals why he hates people

Shock is his stock-in-trade, but talking to Greg Bruce, the controversial broadcaster takes it to a whole new level. Not surprisingly, content may offend.

“F*** ’em!” Paul Henry said, having just walked in on a conversation about organisations that want him to attend their evening events.

“What are they morons, these people?”

He seems to think that quite a few people are morons. But not himself.

An interview with Henry, especially one as long as this one, boils down to a lot of this kind of thing: outrageous claims, insults, self-aggrandising statements, insults embedded in outrageous claims, self-aggrandising statements dressed as insults.

He was asked bout his influence on changes on the competing Breakfast show on TV1.

“Yeah,” he said. “So – basically – TVNZ has got the shits up itself. Basically. Yeah, yay for me. No, I like it: ‘Paul Henry; yay for me.'”

Later, when I asked him what he thought about what has happened with TVNZ’s Breakfast, he said he doesn’t think about it. He followed that up by saying he gets great joy from seeing people improve as a result of trying to compete with him.

“So you would be happy to see that?” I asked. “If they do a better job on Breakfast?”

“They can’t,” he said. “They can’t.”

“Not a better job than you,” I said, “but if they improve their own product, you’re happy about that?”

“Absolutely,” he said, “because it’s a direct result of me. What have they told you so far? And I’m talking about you, as a viewer. They have told you that they have been perfectly happy to produce shit for all this time because no one has put them under pressure to produce anything other than shit. And the reason we know that is the fact that they just offloaded the shit. Unceremoniously, they have offloaded the shit. Not because they wanted to produce a really good product – because they have never wanted to do that, otherwise they would never have had shit in the first place – but because I came along. So, yay for me. I should be congratulated.”

Congratulated by morons?

Having succeeded in prompting one show of one media company to offload “the shit” perhaps Henry could go on a crusade and clean up more of the media. There’s a lot of shit out there.

Including in his interview.

Tame Barry versus Henry Henry Henry

This morning TV One will have a new look as far as presenters go, with Hilary Barry and Jack Tame taking over. A while ago Barry was newsreading on Newshub and trying to soften Paul Henry’s look on TV3’s morning programme.

I don’t watch ‘the Henry show with a bit of news’ unless there’s something of particular interest on (I watch Twitter to see what’s coming up) because I find him distracting, too opinionated and too disrespectful of the opinions of others.

I generally liked Barry’s presentation in the past because she was unobtrusive, as I think any news presenter should be. I’ll see how she goes when she is the focal point of a morning ‘show’.

So for morning news and associated fluff we now have Tame Barry versus Henry Henry this is all about me Henry.


Newshub – conspiracies as entertainment

Newshub have made a story out of the non-appearance of conspiracy crank David Icke on the ‘Paul Henry Show’ yesterday. Apparently Icke turned up for an interview but left the studio before it started.

Newshub are promoting all this as entertainment.

Conspiracy theorist David Icke mysteriously bails on interview
David Icke’s mysterious disappearance


What is mysterious to me is why Newshub and Paul Henry would try to interview Icke in the first place. Ok, it’s supposed to be entertaining.

Probably the most sensible comment in all of this in a lengthy article:

Michelle Boag, on the show to discuss Icke’s beliefs – among other things – had a theory.

“He’s clearly been abducted by the aliens.”

Or maybe aliens have taken over Newshub. One of their biggest stories of the day was about an interview of a foreign conspiracy nut that didn’t happen.

Empathy in electorate offices

This sort of arrogant ‘Labour good, National bad’ claim continues to repel common sense people from Labour.

Te Reo Putake

It’s important to remember that local MP’s have a job to do in their communities and if you want an empathetic hearing in your local electorate office, that’ll only come from a Labour MP.

Or, if you live in the north, from your NZF MP, who I’m told has revitalised the electorate offices up there.

This not only disses David Seymour, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell, it could be seen as a swipe at any Green ambitions of going for electorate seats

This was commenting on his own post Stick a Fork in Him, He’s Dunne in which he said:

The biggest loser is obviously Peter Dunne who is going to be an ex MP if the Green Party don’t stand a candidate in Ohariu.

…long time reliable sycophant Peter Dunne twist in the wind.

Dunne’s history is one of disloyalty and self serving behaviour.

If Labour need to talk to Dunne to get the last seat needed to form a coalition this sort of long standing abuse won’t help their case.

So how rattled is National? I reckon they’re shitting bricks myself. Not just because they are going to lose the ever reliable doormat Dunne, but because there’s every chance the Maori party will cease to be as well.

That’s not because of the Greens/Labour pact, but because interwebs/mana are no longer a credible party. Annette Sykes may well stand again in Wairiki, but she won’t get 5000 votes this time around and Te Ururoa  Flavell’s majority will suffer as a result.

No Flavell, no maori Tories.

Another coalition option burnt off. Do Labour Greens really think they won’t need anyone else?

And what’s to say the Greens won’t get the same treatment if Labour only need them and they are desperate – will Labour through them a few crumbs? It would be more than they’ve done before I suppose.

But back to “if you want an empathetic hearing in your local electorate office, that’ll only come from a Labour MP”.

On Paul Henry this morning  – Greens-Labour deal ‘nothing new’ – King – Nikki Kay said:

…as the MP for Auckland Central through my electorate office I’ve done quite a lot in terms of people being homeless in central Auckland.

I’ve gone down and visited Wynard Quarter people who have been in sort of caravans and things down there and it’s really complex, people have many different situations.

…I’ve literally had people in my office and they’ve said for various reasons that’s where they want to be. And sometimes there might be mental health issues, sometimes there might be a range of other reasons why the temporarily want to be somewhere.

Not good enough for TRP.

On that same Paul Henry segment Annette King also dissed ‘bland Peter Dunne”.

She’s deputy to Andrew Little. In contrast they must be as colourful as cooked cabbage who think they only need some Greens to go with them.

On the same Standard thread Colonial Viper:

Dunne ain’t ever supporting a Labour coalition government again. Not after the vitriol Labour has poured on Dunne for years now.

As if they can afford to be that selective. They seem to have thought dumping on Dunne and getting him out of parliament by any means was a pathway to power.

What does Dunne think about it?

Now has jumped on the bandwagon. She says is “bland”. Time to prove us wrong Peter.

Ha! Hardly worth replying to a wet bus ticket slap from someone of so little substance or consequence

I think it’s time hung up his bow tie..Your now just an angry little man with pretty good hair

 I happen to be one of calmest & relaxed people you could meet – I just have an intolerance of idiocy and stupidity

TRP is not stupid, he knows that you can burn off all sorts of potentially useful people and the voters will still think you deserve to be in power on your own. So much empathy.

Or something.

When the news reader is the news

It’s not unusual for news readers and television presenters and especially political reporters/repeaters to appear to think their profile and influence are at least as significant as the news they share.

I think Hilary Barry was an exception, she was generally a professional, pleasant, unobtrusive news anchor. That’s before she joined Paul Henry anyway.

But the rest of New Zealand’s media has put her at the top of the news for several days now – they seem to like promoting stories about their own (with some notable exceptions where they bury awkward inside-media information).

Her resignation from MediaWorks is an NZ Herald headline today (the Herald and NZME are competitors of MediaWorks).

Source: Why Hilary really left TV3

Popular presenter’s departure from network follows string of exits of long-serving and respected colleagues.

The shock departure of TV3 star Hilary Barry is down to “the Axe-Factor” rather than lucrative offers of work elsewhere, a trusted associate says.

The camaraderie and esprit de corps of the channel’s news team kept Barry in place when she could have gone elsewhere, the source revealed.

Her departure after 23 years follows the loss of some of the channel’s longest-serving staff – and the associate says many of the reasons for Barry’s long-time loyalty have already left the broadcaster. “She has watched as key journalists, presenters and teams of people she respected and admired [have been] axed, pushed or resigned because their jobs had become untenable.”

This isn’t even news, it’s been talked about online since Barry’s resignation announcement on Friday. But David Fisher provides some more details. And he lists the notable losses from MediaWorks over the past few months.

The “Axe Factor”

  • Hilary Barry, news anchor
  • John Campbell, Campbell Live
  • Carolyn Robinson, news reader
  • Hamish McKay, sports presenter
  • Mark Jennings, head of news
  • Terrence Taylor, current affairs editor
  • John Hale, 6pm news producer
  • Pip Keane, Campbell Live producer
  • Paula Penfold, 3D journalist
  • Melanie Reid, 3D journalist

That’s a fairly damning list. CEO Mark Weldon is either doing what was required of him, or his position must be under considerable pressure.

Meanwhile Barry has to work out her notice on the Paul Henry Show. She looked quite tired and things seemed a bit tense when they went on air at 6 am.


In other news…a bit of sport from the weekend and a few bits and bobs carried over from last week.

Oh, and NZ Herald filed their story about the news reader under  ‘Entertainment’. That probably says more about the status of news in the media these days than details of Barry’s resignation.

Weldon and Ralston on Barry’s resignation

The official word from MediaWorks boss Mark Weldon on Hillary Barry’s resignation:

“On behalf of MediaWorks, I want to thank and pay tribute to Hilary. She is a brilliant broadcaster, highly respected journalist and much-loved personality, who will be missed by myself, colleagues and audiences.

“She started with TV3 as a news reporter in Christchurch in 1993 and has become one of New Zealand’s favourite personalities on television and radio.
“This was a personal decision made by Hilary. We are disappointed to lose her but also acknowledge that, after 23 years, it’s very reasonable she might wish to make a change. So, we respect her decision, thank her for her enormous contribution, and wish her the very best.

“She leaves the company on a high, with Paul Henry and Newshub Live at 6pm both performing extremely well.”

Time will tell whether they continue to perform as well without Hilary.

NBR quotes Bill Ralston on the resignation:

Former TVNZ head of news and current affairs Bill Ralston tells NBR that Ms Barry’s departure “Is going to have a huge impact. She’s a superb talent. Probably one of the best newsreaders in the country if not the best and it’s a massive blow.”

He adds, “She’s the old TV3. She’s lost Mark Jennings who was her boss and a mentor. She’s lost a lot of friends from the current affairs show [3D] that basically got sacked. John Campbell, she was cut up about that when he went; I think she’d just had enough.”

This is from Speculation over Hilary Barry’s next move

Could Ms Barry turn up at TVNZ?

“I wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s a matter of where they put her,” Mr Ralston says.

“If they put her into the six o’clock news, that means they have to move Wendy Petrie and we could have a replay of the John Hawkesby thing. They could have her on the weekends as a way of easing her in.”

Who could replace Ms Barry on TV3 and RadioLive?

“Only Heather du Plessis-Allan,” Mr Ralson says.

“And that would leave a big hole in their seven o’clock show. So they’ve got a real problem there. They’ve got other news readers, but no one of her stature — and I mean that kindly, because they’ve got some good young news readers – but there’s no one of her stature to replace her from within.

“From without, I’m scratching my head to think who they could bring in.”

Why is news presentation apparently so reliant on the newsreaders? Should a change of newsreader matter?

The thing I liked about Barry was she was relatively unobtrusive and didn’t appear ego driven or self opinionated.

It shouldn’t matter that Barry is going from Newshub and from the Paul Henry Show.

What will matter (for Newshub) is who she is replaced with.

du Plessis-Allan is someone who likes to be more prominent in her presentations, she would have to learn to not be the focus of the news, as would anyone who replaces Hilary.

UPDATE: Duncan Grieve at The Spinoff on Why Hilary Barry’s resignation is the climax of TV3’s red wedding

The shock resignation of Hilary Barry from Mediaworks represents a bigger blow than any of the other high profile TV3 newsroom departures, says Duncan Greive.

Last night, just before 9pm, news broke that Hilary Barry had become the latest and biggest casualty of the Mark Weldon era at Mediaworks. It’s a cataclysmic event for the organisation, a multi-pronged nightmare with implications stretching from dawn to dusk and across all platforms.

Barry is the most universally beloved figure in New Zealand television, a woman who managed to embody everything TV3’s brand once stood for – smart, funny and relatable in a way that TVNZ’s slightly aloof figures have struggled to match.

Yet if the rumours of her recruitment to One are true – and it seems near-certain – then this is one of the most audacious and admirably ruthless coups in recent broadcast history.

Terrible Newshub poll

As I’ve often said, online polls are flaky at the best of times, but today’s Paul Henry poll is one of the worst I’ve seen.


This is open to anyone whether they currently vote Green or not, so the result can’t accurately reflect opinion on the question, presuming non-Green voters are likely to respond, including current ACT voters.

But worse is the poll promoting of one of the two choices, with “The Right Choice” prominent.

You couldn’t get a more suggestive graphic accompanying a poll.

This is a terrible poll.

And it gets worse – Seymour and ACT were featured on the Paul henry Show.

Up next leader David Seymour joins us to talk about his plan to get votes.