Twelve Questions
Jennifer Dann poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Pam Corkery

Pam Corkery, Newstalk ZB host, writer and former MP, turns 56 today. Last year, she bailed on a business plan - a brothel for women.

Pam Corkery.  Photo / APN
Pam Corkery. Photo / APN

1. How come there are brothels for men everywhere, but it's so difficult to set up one for women?

Because it's so personal for men and it frightens them. The accountants and lawyers I dealt with were all male. One said it was against nature for men to be in this position and another accountant actually said it was against God. One also said he didn't want his ex-wife spending the alimony on that. The percentage of men who have been to brothels or strip joints is quite high and they know they've treated women like sex objects. It's a huge hurdle to get over and it reminded me that those atavistic ideas still are there. Men seem so driven by the need to not be diminished, power-wise. But I'm glad I pulled out. It's a grubby business, despite my attempts to make it clean.

2. What's the best thing about turning 56?

Being through menopause. I am not a slave to my hormones and I have an imperative of use it or lose it, regarding sex. My creativity has increased and so has my sex drive. I have an increased comfort in my own skin. Here I am.

No one wants me to procreate. What a relief. It's liberating. I have a new status.

3. What surprises you most about radio?

That they're still hiring me. That's terrific. I'm going with my gut more now and I'm not a resentment merchant. And we have just had an unprecedented ratings boost and I get to work with a 30-year-old co-host - Tim Roxborogh. There is always laughter. Our chemistry is fantastic. It's like the perfect arranged marriage.

4. In what time in your life, doing what job, have you felt most yourself?

I don't define myself by my job anymore. Or being well known. I had a couple of years off to go through the menopause and I was drinking heavily. I'd be at the liquor store saying, "I didn't know you opened at 9am. But oh well, I'm here now". I was well known at the liquor store. But I needed that time and I'm through it now and I love what I do. But it doesn't define me.

5. What terrifies you?

Relapsing. I have the disease of addiction. The thought of going back terrifies me.

6. What is now your greatest source of pleasure or indulgence?

Everything intrigues me. Flowers do. Driving through booze buses and knowing I'll be okay. I don't want more, more, more. I do smoke. I'm not even going to try that one. I don't feel any shame about that. I love it. I always have.

7. If you could meet yourself at 10 now, what would you say to yourself?

Calm down. It's going to be fine. Stop trying to make it happen. It'll be fine.

8. Who are the women in your life who have been the greatest influence on you?

My mum. She was terrific. So staunch and very pro women. She fed me literature and advice and she did the same for my sisters. My mother said to us, "You sell your work, not your sovereignty. You are not working for someone, you are working with them. Be proud of your labour".

9. What do you make of the political landscape now - what should David Shearer be doing?

That allegation is totally irresponsible. He has slowed my hopes for the demise of John Key. You don't make an allegation without proof. You don't say, "Just believe me". It's crazy. The enemy is on the run and the Labour caucus is fighting each other. I was crap at politics. I should know. He should leave, or just not be leader. I do feel in a state of crisis. I'm worried about my country.

10. Can you finish the sentence: "The more I learn about love, the more I ... "?

Men are not the enemy. That's a huge accomplishment. I realised I didn't have partners - I took hostages. Now I don't have to win or to always be right. I have Mr Right Now instead of Mr Right. You don't get divorced three times and not have something to do with it. My daughters said, "Mum what's the common factor here? Get better at it or stop".

11. When have you shocked yourself with an outrageous statement?

If I'm hurting someone to be clever. That shocks me. I used to find the weakest person in the room and target my humour missile at them. I don't want to use meanness as part of a comedic track anymore.

12. When are you vulnerable?

When I'm on my own for too long. If I go for a long time with my own thoughts it can go a bit skew-whiff - I forget who and what I am.

- NZ Herald

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