Newstalk ZB husband and wife duo Heather du Plessis-Allan and Barry Soper have today confirmed their plans at the radio network, following the birth of their son Iggy in February.
From Tuesday 26 April, du Plessis-Allan will return as host of her top rating, established Drive show, whilst Soper will take eight weeks of parental leave before returning part-time to the press gallery.
During this time, Newstalk ZB will appoint an Acting Political Editor to the role, before they officially take the reins from Soper in 2023.
In 2023 du Plessis-Allan and Soper will be based in Auckland from which time Soper will step into the newly created role as Newstalk ZB’s Senior Political Correspondent.
Soper says he is looking forward to the next couple of months at home with Iggy before going back to the press gallery part-time, supporting Heather as she gets back into the hotseat of her popular drive time radio show.
“Like all new parents, Heather and I are juggling the joys and challenges of parenthood whilst also supporting each other’s careers,” Soper said.
“With Iggy as our number one priority, I am really looking forward to being a full-time Dad for the next couple of months before returning to the press gallery until we make the permanent move to Auckland next year.”
“Despite feeling a sense of sadness about leaving the press gallery next year, I’m looking forward to the new opportunity as Senior Political Correspondent – providing political insights, investigations and commentary.”
Jason Winstanley, NZME Chief Radio Officer, says the network is pleased to be supporting the couple during this time and he’s excited about their future plans with NZME.
“Heather is a hugely talented broadcaster and we know her listeners will be so happy to hear she will be making a return to her esteemed drive time show in a few weeks’ time,” he said.
“Barry judged the best news or sports journalist at the last NZ Radio Awards, is an absolute legend of radio and broadcasting in New Zealand – we are lucky to have him as part of the Newstalk ZB family and we’re thrilled he’ll be continuing in this new role with us.”
Michael Boggs, NZME Chief Executive, says Soper is a loyal, committed, respected stalwart of New Zealand broadcasting and to be able to have him in Auckland, whilst du Plessis-Allan will continue to grow her audience in her ever-popular Heather du Plessis Allan Drive show, is a fantastic outcome.
“Barry is New Zealand’s longest serving and most talented political journalist, with more than 40 years of experience in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, including just on 30 years at the helm of Newstalk ZB’s office as Political Editor. We know he will bring so much into this new role, as well as acting as a mentor for others,” he said.