TV stars can no longer afford their home

By Miles Erwin

It was to be the dream home for a dream newsreading team - but TV presenters Simon Dallow and Alison Mau say they can no longer afford the upkeep on their home of eight years.

Dallow, TVNZ's star newsreader and one of its highest paid presenters, said the couple had reluctantly put their Epsom house on the market after realising restoring it to its former glory was too costly.

"It always caught our eye when we lived nearby," Dallow told the Herald on Sunday. "And when it came on the market, we pooled our resources and went deeper than we hoped to restore it to its glory.

"That day unfortunately never arrived, and to completely restore it would take more than we've got. So it's beyond our means, really - we bent over backwards to get into it."

Dallow's pay packet at TVNZ is nowhere near the $800,000 his predecessor Judy Bailey commanded in her final year in the job, but even his high income couldn't cope with the demands of the house. It should fetch a good price, however.

Its Quotable Value rating is $940,000, but in Auckland's booming housing market, it could reach much more than that. Dallow said he doesn't have a price in mind yet.

"Because it's a unique house, it's hard to make comparisons. We honestly have no idea. As much as possible, obviously."

It's been a difficult year for the broadcasting couple, who try to avoid the limelight. In September, Dallow was panned for criticising TVNZ's advertising campaign and called the evening news "fluff". And in February last year, Mau called in the lawyers after she was passed over for the newsreading job at Prime in favour of Suzy Clarkson and Eric Young. A minor furore ensued when Mau's father Leigh criticised Clarkson.

Dallow said he and Mau would be upset to say goodbye. It was the house they wanted to be in for life.

"There will be a lot of sadness around it. This is the one we thought we would be in for a long, long time. It's just the frustration of knowing there's the possibility for the house but we can't do it. We've been living with deteriorating kitchens and bathrooms for some time - it's just beyond us."

Dallow said he and Mau haven't bought another house yet, but they're trying to stay nearby.

"We're just going to keep looking and hopefully we find somewhere else. But we like the area. It's got great schools for the kids, and it was an area we hoped we would be in."

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