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Journalist reveals what it’s like working at Parliament

Press Release
For Immediate Release
14th July 2014
Political Veteran Journalist visits Hawkes Bay and reveals what it’s like working at Parliament

Barry Soper, New Zealand’s leading and most experienced Political Journalist is in Hawkes Bay this weekend to give people and insight into political life.

With the general elections looming Soper will outline who the major contenders are and what the minor political parties will have to do to gain a seat at the September elections.

Soper is a respected journalist and undoubtedly the country’s most experienced political broadcast journalist. He has been a journalist for 45 years with the past 34 years spent in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, making him the longest fulltime member of the gallery!

Barry came to the gallery as political editor for private radio but during his time has made frequent appearances on television commenting on politics. He has also fronted Counterpoint for TVNZ, Right of Reply, an interview show featuring the political leaders in the lead-up to the 1999 election for Saturn, and Absolutely Soper, a light hearted weekly feature on TV2's late night news.

He is also the political editor for Prime News and Sky News New Zealand.

He's also been a radio talkback host and has served an unprecedented three terms as chairman of the press gallery. For many years he has written a daily satirical column which he voices for radio and which is published daily on internet sites.

Through his work he has known and travelled abroad with eight Prime Ministers, the first of whom was Rob Muldoon. He has also met and interviewed some of the most celebrated world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, most of the Australian Prime Ministers, among them Paul Keating who once called him "a blow fly", and more recently Bill Clinton who called him a gentleman.

Barry covered all the Fiji coups in 1987 and 2000 and in 2006, and was the first international journalist to secure an interview with rebel leader George Speight. Unfortunately during the Rabuka coup he was the first international journalist to be locked up by the regime.

He was also the only broadcast journalist to stay on in Suva in the Speight coup after the shooting started within a week of the incarceration of the Government. He was in demand by several outlets here, including television, due to the absence of their own journalists in the city.

He has also covered major events like the fall of the Berlin Wall and President Mandela's inauguration in South Africa and his funeral last December.

He was honoured a several years ago by his colleagues with a life membership of the gallery and was in 2001 named radio journalist of the year.

Barry has five children. He works out daily either at the gym or on long runs and is passionate about golf, although plays it too infrequently to maintain a healthy handicap.

He is married to Heather du Plessis-Allan, a journalist for TVNZ.

Barry comes to Millhills Lodge in Hawkes Bay on the 19th July to present a night on politics with a sumptuous three course dinner for an intimate group of just 14 people and then on the Sunday an elevenses session for up to 40 people.

Millhills Lodge owners Sam Jackman and Penny Blundell are delighted to be hosting Barry Soper his wife Heather Du Plessis Allan and other political cohorts, Sia Aston and Rachael Morton.

Come and hear the latest news and views in the world of New Zealand politics, seats are very limited for the dinner and the elevenses should be a great event too!

Ends

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