Barry Soper has been a journalist since the 1970’s with the last two decades spent in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. He is the longest serving member of the gallery and the country’s most experienced political broadcast journalist.
Radio and media
Barry came to the gallery as political editor for private radio but during his time he has made frequent appearances on television commentating on politics. He has also fronted Counterpoint for TVNZ, Right of Reply, an interview show in the leadup to the last election for Saturn, and Absolutely Soper, a light hearted weekly feature which was part of TV2’s late night news. As well as spending time as a radio talkback host. He also served an unprecedented three terms as chairman of the press gallery.
Through his work he has known and travelled abroad with seven Prime Ministers, the first of whom was Rob Muldoon. He has also met 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 President Bill Clinton.
Barry covered both the Fijian coups in 1987 and 2000, and was the first international journalist to secure an interview with rebel leader, George Speight. He was also the only New Zealand broadcast journalist to stay on in Suva after the shooting started within a week of the coup.
In 2001, Soper was named Individual Radio Journalist of the Year at the radio awards.
Currently, Soper’s main role is that of political editor for Newstalk ZB.
He can deliver an address on the premise “where to from here”, based on his years of political experience and analysis, or a more light hearted, anecdotal address, gathered from his years of travelling with Prime Ministers. He is also a particularly astute debater and MC.
Politics & Advocacy