Duncan Garner is in talks to take over Paul Henry's radio show - and played a key role in luring TVNZ political editor Guyon Espiner to rival TV3.

Espiner resigned from Television New Zealand yesterday to work for TV3's current affairs show 60 Minutes and will be based in Auckland after many years covering Parliament in Wellington.

He recently resigned as TVNZ political editor and was due to develop new projects at TV One, so the defection to TV3 will be a blow to the state broadcaster.

There had been rumours TVNZ was planning on using him for a special unit on big stories working alongside Lisa Owen, who is expected back from London soon.


It is unclear whether Espiner had intended to continue with the Q & A political programme on Sundays and whether his departure has caught that show off-guard as well.

And with Paul Henry heading to Australia, Garner could replace him on his afternoon radio show. Mediaworks owns both RadioLive and TV3, and while it's uncertain how serious Garner is about a switch, he was seen lunching with RadioLive boss Jana Rangooni in Wellington on Wednesday to discuss his options.

The Herald also understands Garner, TV3's political editor, was crucial in convincing his rival and friend Espiner to switch stations.

The pair are close and Garner worked with Mark Jennings, head of TV3 news and current affairs, to snare Espiner when negotiations with TVNZ stalled.

Espiner will be a reporter and will work beside Mike McRoberts, a TV3 source said.