Plunket resigns from Morning Report

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, June 15th, 2010 - 40 comments
Categories: broadcasting, Media - Tags: , ,

News just in that Sean Plunket has resigned from Morning Report. It’s well known that he has had conflicts with his bosses over the years but there’s no information as of yet on why he decided to call it a day.

He’ll be missed. His robust style is a rarity in this country and has made him New Zealand’s premier political interviewer but hopefully he will still be around.

40 comments on “Plunket resigns from Morning Report”

  1. Lew 1


    A huge loss. The only person in radio who can replace him presently is Checkpoint’s Mary Wilson. I don’t see anyone switching from TV (and the bench is pretty thin there, as well).

    Most likely replacement seems one of the incumbent pinch-hitters: Philippa Tolley, Todd Niall or Julian Robins. But it’s a long way off as yet.


    • What about the best interviewer available at this time .Chris Laidlaw .
      His courteous conduct and depth of knowledge of the required subject being discussed is excellent. Plunket has been too kind to National and will not be missed.

  2. Tigger 2

    In a related item, John Key agrees to go on Morning Report, the day after Sean Plunkett leaves…

    • ianmac 2.1

      Just what I thought Tigger! The only time that Key’s voice is heard on radio is from prepared statements. When was the last time he appeared in a serious interview?

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Mikey Havoc F/T/W.

  4. Fulcrum 4

    About time!

    Yes, Todd Niall or Julian Robins would be good. Mary Wilson would be great too, but I love her on the 5pm show (which I listen too more than Morining Report for various reasons)

    Geoff Robinson can’t be far off retiring too……

  5. r0b 5

    I hope RNZ promotes someone internally rather than try and head hunt a “star”. It’s a high profile role and it needs a professional, it should be someone who has put in the hard yards.

    • Lew 5.1

      I agree, r0b. All four of those have put in the yards and have the quality. My only concern is that only Wilson is as demanding an interviewer as Plunket, and NZ needs that.

      By the way … can you chop the extra t off his name? It drives me insane.


        • Lew

          Thanks. I have a half-written draft on KP with all the common misspellings and pronunciations and so on of names and things and places which get my goat. It’s a long list.


          • Anne

            Hurry up and finish it will you. I want to read it. See if it’s the same as mine. 😀

      • Bored 5.1.2

        Personally I think RedLogix should get the job with Bill in support, flunky questions to be asked by Fisiani.

      • r0b 5.1.3

        And as for Plunket being a demanding interviewer – I’m not so sure. I saw a lot of soft ball pitches to Nats.

        • Lanthanide

          Often when he asks a question and someone tries to weasel out of it, he forces them to answer it. Not always, and he might be asking the wrong question to begin with, of course.

          • A post with me in it

            Actually he tended to make up his mind what he wanted answered and how he wanted it answered and really ignored anything else – even when it turned out he was obviously wrong about his initial ‘facts’ and/or perspective.

            I think many times he mistook his role and being a prosecuting lawyer trying to prove his own case or arrogantly dismissing valid points rather than a journalist trying to force his way to the core of an issue. A subtle but very important difference.

            This often led him to being outright rude rather than just “aggressive” on a great number of occasions. (and yes this included guests I did not like or agree with) I remember on multiple occasions him rudely repeatedly asking/talking over the top of a guest for a yes or no answer when it was pretty clear to me that such an answer was inappropriate and/or the question loaded.

            He was right leaning and I agree with r0b – and it bled through something terrible. What is sad is that he was probably trying very hard to not appear this way.

            So I am somewhat mixed to be honest. I like hard interviewers (e.g. English interview on agenda) and he was very capable of this also, but hate arrogant journalists who think they know better than the guest what the guest is trying to say or that their perspective on something is more or even as equally valid.

            I can only hope his replacement tries to mimic the best of him and leave out the worst.

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    Obviously going to work for Key in some form a possibility, or maybe Radio Live wants to ditch its current breakfast host

  7. Maggie 7

    Quite enjoyed Sean overall, but he was often very selective about who he attacked and who he left alone.

    At least we might get a presenter who doesn’t use that silly phrase “in terms of” every five minutes.

  8. Maggie 8

    Quite enjoyed Sean, though he was often very selective as to who he attacked and who he left alone.

    At least we may not have to put up with a presenter who uses the silly phrase “in terms of” every five minutes.

    Mary Wilson would be great, she is assertive without being rude, a skill Sean never quite mastered.

  9. Lew 9

    I’ll take an interviewer who sometimes goes easy, but usually goes hard, and when he goes hard has the ability to go really hard — over an interviewer who doesn’t have that top gear available when it’s genuinely required. Any day.


    • Puddleglum 9.1

      I’d be interested in someone doing some content analysis on Plunket’s political interviewing over the last two years (to include the build up to the 2008 election). Counting up, for example, the number of times he inserted, unrequested, points in support of the interviewee. Similarly, the number of times he provided a narrative to let someone off the hook (as he often did) could be counted. These would be reasonably objective measures, so far as content analysis goes. Then, the frequency of those discursive tactics could be correlated with the broad ‘left’ /’right’ position or political party affiliation of the interviewee.

      I think it would make for a very interesting study, though, with this news, probably a bit redundant and too targeted on an individual (so couldn’t be used to generalise). If I only had time …

      • Lew 9.1.1

        I’ve often thought about this — work to test the many and competing claims of ideological bias on the part of specific media people and outlets. Designing and conducting this sort of research is what I do for a living, and I’d love to do it — if only I had time, too!

        It would be a huge amount of work, but done right it could be genuinely useful. There was a bit of content analysis done on the 2008 election by Babak Bahador from Canterbury university — Bryce Edwards reviewed the chapter written from it here. I have some methodological questions about it (particularly since the released report doesn’t actually list the coding criteria, etc.) but it’s an interesting — and rare — look at the coverage from this angle.


  10. Pete 10

    I’ll miss him in the morning, and ditto Geoff when he decides to leave (I heard rumblings that it may be the end of the calendar year).

    I was sometimes frustrated with the questions he asked, and the follow-up on others, but on balance Morning Report was the ultimate source of information in my day, and the questioning was far superior to any other medium (including in Q+A and the Nation and other supposedly nuetral vehicles for political discourse).

    Viva RNZ.

  11. felix 11

    I just hope he finds the time to get back to craft blogging.

    • Pete 11.1

      Agreed, that was gold.

      And his Mum thought it was pretty good too as I recall…

  12. Ed 12

    Of the two I think Geoff Robinson has quietly achieved more – he has never got the (deserved) headlines that Sean has, but he has a balance that gets good stories from all stripes of politics as well as from other interviews. I do look forward to hearing ans/or reading Sean Plunket in another forum though.

  13. Name 13

    I always enjoyed Morning Report more on days when there was no Sean Plunkett strutting his ego and hounding guests for trivia.

    I hope Radio NZ finds a replacement who knows what questions to ask, allows the guest to reply and can resist the urge to close an interview with a trite and often inaccurate person opinion.

    • rod 13.1

      Spot on Name, I couldn’t stand the arrogant prick. Good riddance I say No doubt Morning Report will find someone just as light blue.

  14. Jim Nald 14

    Who will he be working for next?

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      Garner isn’t much of an interviewer. If tv3 really wanted to pump their ratings for ‘The Nation’ they could do worse than invest in a performer.

  15. sunny 15

    My money’s on Sean off to work for Spin and Grin…

  16. prism 16

    I think the replacement is more likely to be male than female. There is a 3 hour slot of female after morning report and I hope it will continue like that if we can keep getting these fantastic women blotters soaked in the culture who are such intelligent good presenters. So blokes in the early morning gives balance.

  17. hard to say who to replace him with.personally i like mary wilson but perhaps she would be too tough.

  18. Rharn 18

    Plunket showed his bias. But he could push for an answer and get in most cases. A rare talent today in the media.

  19. geoff 19

    Does Mary Wilson want to get up at 4am after so many years???
    ..but P Tolley and T Niall too soft by far

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