“Paul Holmes was a gentleman broadcaster. He conducted his interviews with intelligence and insightfulness, and while he never suffered fools, his interviews were never without kindness and empathy,” says Mr Key.
“He was a trailblazer in New Zealand journalism with a style that was all his own.
“I also counted him as a friend and I want to personally acknowledge the pain Deborah, Lady Holmes, Millie and Reuben are now feeling and offer my heartfelt condolences,” says Mr Key.
“Paul has been part of New Zealanders’ lives since the 1970s. For more than a decade he was compulsive viewing at 7pm and, up until very recently, he was still on Q&A and his radio show. It is hard to imagine a broadcasting spectrum without him.
I did a weekly politics chat with Sir Paul on his Saturday morning ZB show for the last few years. It was a delight to do, as he was always very knowledgeable on the issues of the week – but equally I enjoyed his tendency to wonder off politics sometimes and end up discussing anything from the beauty of Vienna to good coffee. It was his ability to effortlessly hold a conversation that made him such a great broadcaster.
I was never a huge fan of the TV show that made him a household name, partly because it was somewhere between current affairs and entertainment. Where I thought he was almost a genius was on his daily morning ZB show. His ability to talk and entertain for three hours a day was almost without parallel, and I was a regular listener. Have hardly tuned in since he left it. He also brought real experience and insights to Q+A which was a must watch for me.
Of course he was not without his flaws and weaknesses, as none of us are. This however is not the time for reflecting on those. It is a time to think of the many New Zealanders who did know him well and the loss they are experiencing with his passing. I know a number of people who were very close friends of Sir Paul and they often spoke of his enormous generosity of spirit, and many small kindnesses on a personal level.
It is sad to have someone who worked so hard all his life, die so relatively young, unable to experience a long and peaceful retirement which would have been well-deserved. May he rest in peace now.