John Drinnan

John Drinnan is the Media writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Radio NZ host Chris Laidlaw steps down after 11 years on air

Chris Laidlaw, Rhodes scholar, All Black, diplomat, MP, talk radio host and author. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Chris Laidlaw, Rhodes scholar, All Black, diplomat, MP, talk radio host and author. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Radio New Zealand is looking for a new Sunday Morning host to take over from Chris Laidlaw.

Laidlaw has stepped down after 11 years presenting the 8am to noon Sunday Morning programme on National Radio.

Laidlaw could not be reached for comment.

Radio New Zealand networks manager John Howson confirmed the change today and said Radio NZ management were reviewing the way the show was put together.

A Rhodes Scholar, former all Black and Labour MP, Laidlaw has come to represent the liberal sentiments of Radio NZ.

His last show will be on December 22 and the regular schedule will change to a summer line up, before returning on January 20.

Howson said the Laidlaw show had rated well - comparable to the Kim Hill programme on Saturday mornings, with National Radio attracting 14 per cent of people listening to radio at that time.

Hill has traditionally focused on people and Laidlaw on issues, and that would likely continue, Howson said.

Howson said Laidlaw had been elected to local government and while there were little prospects of a conflict of interest, he decided to step down.

Sunday morning was a significant part of the Radio NZ National schedule.

There was nobody in mind as a replacement, but Radio NZ was looking at a single presenter.

There was no intention for Laidlaw's replacement to come from any political bent, Howson said.

Howson acknowledged media comment that Laidlaw's background as a former Labour MP gave the Laidlaw show a liberal focus, but he did not believe that stood up to scrutiny.

Laidlaw's broadcast style has sometimes been built on thoughtful but long winded comments and questions.

Radio NZ chief executive Paul Thompson has indicated that Radio NZ is seeking to expand its presence outside of Wellington

Howson said that broadcasting out of Auckland or Christchurch would be among the options in the current review.

- NZ Herald

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