Broadcasting veteran Paul Henry doubts that Kiwis have the will to create a better future post Covid-19.
The Rebuilding Paradise host was recently lured out of retirement by MediaWorks to front a new show that looked to stimulate debate and create momentum for life post-Covid.
The show is currently in its fourth and final week, and while it did pull in audiences, Newsroom reports that Henry has been left disappointed by Kiwis as we look towards the future.
Speaking to Mark Jennings at Newsroom, Henry said: "I think there is a good chance we [New Zealand] will miss the opportunity. I was hoping that there could be a bounce forward not a bounce back. It's the human way – a life of least resistance. I'm not depressed, I'm disappointed."
Henry went on to note that the "vibe" in the interviews he has done has been the catalyst for his disappointment. He referred to Rob Fyfe, former Air New Zealand CEO, who is currently working as a volunteer liaison for the Government.
Fyfe told Henry: "I haven't seen a long-term plan yet. I think the last six weeks I've seen us fighting a fire and trying to get back on our feet. We need a long-term plan. The world's changed, and it's changed for many years to come."
"You could see the frustration on his face," Henry told Jennings, and said those frustrations have impacted the broadcaster's mindset.
"There is not one person in the Government that has a plan or can articulate a plan.
"A plan has a start, a process and a goal … not one minister can articulate what that plan is.
"Instead, it's panic and continue to employ as many people as possible. That is not a plan's a***hole.
Henry also noted that Labour's deputy leader, and Minister of Tourism, Kelvin Davis, had "nothing to contribute at all" when Henry asked him about the 100,000 tourism jobs about to be lost and simply referred to the situation as "an unprecedented event".
However, when it comes to the Prime Minister, Henry noted that her actions are much harder to criticise.
"She has done an incredible job and it is a bit like criticising Mother Teresa, but I am starting to worry about her leadership," he told Jennings. "She can't be a one-man band in this, she is trying to handle everything herself. She should go away and meet with the right people and devise a plan – we need a plan."
As for Henry's own plans, Newsroom reports he is set to head back to his Palm Springs home in the US, when he is able to, to finish off his third book: What I love about America.
But his time back in New Zealand wasn't all doom and gloom, Henry noting sitting in the presenter's chair again "felt like home".
And despite Henry admitting to Jennings that he believes free-to-air television is "in its dying phase" he isn't ruling out a return to the 7pm slot one day either.
"I would consider it. That is not out of the question. The ability to affect the way people think – the power that comes with that is alluring."