Each week Megan Nicol Reed asks a public figure to choose three of the seven deadly sins to confess to. This week David Lomas enters the box.
Lomas, a 66-year-old veteran journalist produces and presents Lost and Found, a local show reuniting families.
How do you deal with the ire of people who don't want to know about their long-lost family member?
We often get mothers who have maybe adopted out a child and fathers who have run away - the biggest groups who outright reject their children - and I just get very angry. Those people have made a decision that suited them and the child has got an absolute right, in my opinion, to make the decision later. For parents to cut dead their child's birth right, knowing their parents, I find that appalling. I've had mothers who have adopted out children say, "No, they mean nothing to me. No, I don't want to know them, I'm not interested." I can understand how they may not want to get into a deep relationship. But their choice created that child, now it's their obligation to at least answer questions for that child.
Do you take them on?
No, I bite my tongue, which is very hard sometimes. If people don't want to do it as part of a television programme, that's fair enough but when they say, "I don't want my child to know who I am," that's where I find it very hard. I have a policy we've created on the programme, which is we will always pass on to the child the details, what the parent has said. So if the mother says," I don't want to know, she means nothing to me," I'll tell the child but I'll also tell her where the mother is. Then it's the child's decision to take it on.
Outside of the show what irks you?
I get angry when I go to a cafe and I want to sit down and read the newspaper and the person before me has left it strewn across the table in a mess and had their breakfast on it. I get pissed off with dog owners who let their dogs run loose off the lead and have no idea what their dogs are doing. I suppose what I'm talking about is the lack of manners these days. There's an indulgence that has crept in.
Which brings us to greed! How do you define it?
I hate our greedy society. There's a class of have's and then there's a great big class of have not's. More and more we've become an "I'm okay" sort of society and we forget about the rest. I see Simon Bridges saying the capital gains tax will destroy the New Zealand way of life. I don't know what world or bubble Bridges lives in. I deal every day with people who are quite poor, struggling. When we ask if we can do something with them they say, "I haven't got any petrol to drive down." To drive 15km away. This woman I've been dealing with in the last few days, she was in tears because she'd lost $50 off her income and couldn't afford to feed her three children. When Bridges is talking about destroying the New Zealand way of life, capital gains tax is not destroying that way of life. It's the politics of greed over the last 20 years that have destroyed that way of life.
Do you ever behave greedily?
I often think how privileged I am. If I'm sitting having a cup of coffee and I'm getting angry about someone having screwed up the newspaper, I'm still sitting in a cafe having a coffee, whereas so many people aren't. I understand I'm lucky but I also look at others who it appears don't understand they're lucky and believe they have a God-given right to a lifestyle which is way beyond so many people in this country.
You said you've experienced two kinds of envy in your life. Can you elaborate?
As a journo I've always been very envious of anyone who gets a better story than I do. When I was young it drove me to be very competitive and it was quite all-consuming. I suppose in a funny way other's success leads to your own lack of confidence. And I've been all my life envious of great sportsmen, especially All Blacks. I would just love to have the ability to throw that super-long pass across a rugby field, like Stanley or Bunce used to do. Or run with the power of John Kirwan, who wouldn't be envious of that?
Lost and Found returns to TV3, 7.30pm, Tuesday.