By MICHELE HEWITSON
Former Alliance MP Pam Corkery will go mike-to-mike with breakfast radio's undisputed heavyweight champion Paul Holmes from Monday.
She will replace former cabinet minister and National MP John Banks as Radio Pacific's breakfast show host for Auckland.
Banks will continue to broadcast his breakfast programme to the rest of the country.
Corkery's return comes after a four-year break from weekday radio.
Radio Pacific management have hired her to take on the lucrative Auckland audience - and Holmes.
Radio ratings, released last month, showed Pacific's 6 am to 9 am show had a 5.3 per cent market share of Auckland's weekday breakfast listeners aged 10 years and over.
Holmes' breakfast show on Newstalk ZB, which runs from 6 am to 8.30 am, attracted 19.8 per cent.
Corkery said her show would be unashamedly Auckland-centric.
"I think the issues are the same as nationwide ones, but I think Aucklanders do approach things in a different way.
"I'm not going to be blindly chauvinistic about Auckland. But then I think: why not? I'd like to do something about us pumping up the volume. I think the rest of the country has made us apologetic."
She would tackle the big issues but radio should also be about entertainment.
While Aucklanders cared about transport "it's about the dullest radio in the world."
Banks said he was happy to hand over the Auckland air waves to Corkery. His natural audience, he said, was outside of liberal Auckland.
Banks remained "a strong advocate for regional New Zealand," said Radio Pacific's programme director, Chris Gregory.
Corkery ruled out a return to talkback when she announced last year that she would be leaving politics after just one term.
"For a thrice-married woman to say never again ... When I said that I didn't like my fellow human beings at all. I was in a compassion-bankrupt position."
Her bitter experience in politics - her 1999 book Pam's Political Confessions accused Alliance leader Jim Anderton of being a bully - would give her an "extra layer of knowledge" when reporting on political issues, she said.
By MICHELE HEWITSON