Exactly who will replace Hilary Barry remains unknown, but speculation is starting to build about who could take on the mantle.

Among the names beginning to circulate are Heather du Plessis-Allan, Samantha Hayes, Melissa Davies and even mother of the nation Judy Bailey.

Long-time media commentator Bill Ralston told the Herald today he felt du Plessis-Allan - a former political reporter for rival network TVNZ - was the right choice.

The only problem, however, is the gap that would leave on the presenting table at TV3's Story, which she currently co-hosts with Duncan Garner.


"That would leave a hole in the 7 o'clock team," Ralston said.

"You've got other newsreaders there, but they're all quite young, I think. They have lesser experience. Stepping up to fill in would be a hard job, for any of them, so they don't have a lot of choices."

Ralston said he did not know for sure what Barry's plans were, but said she would fit into any media organisation she chose to go to - whether it be in radio or television.

Asked how he thought she could be utilised at TVNZ, he said: "They could pair her up in the weekend with Peter Williams, to ease her into the job. That gives her more time to spend with her family and she could come in on the weekends and do some reading there, maybe."

Hosting some of the channel's other big current affairs programmes could also be the best place for Barry, Ralston said.

"[Presenting] Fair Go - yeah. There are a lot of programmes at TVNZ where she'd fit admirably.

"She was always a good journalist as well as being a newsreader. I think TVNZ's Breakfast is looking a bit tired at the moment, so maybe that ... could do with a bit of help from her."