Wendy Petrie has finished as co-news anchor of 1 News.
Veteran journalist Wendy Petrie finished as the co-host of 1 News, a job she’s held for 14 years.
She left the job quietly, without an on air goodbye, on Friday night, at the end of a busy day which saw the broadcaster present breaking news of the Government’s decision to extend Auckland’s level 3 lockdown.
Regarded as a stalwart of New Zealand broadcasting, she is an accomplished foreign correspondent and newsreader.
With Petrie gone, 1 News at 6pm would move to have just one host. Her co-host, Simon Dallow, was keeping his job. He and Petrie have anchored TVNZ’s flagship news show since 2006, following Judy Bailey, who had previously hosted with Richard Long.
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At the end of her final bulletin beside Dallow, the duo did what they’ve done every day for years after the weather – Dallow introduced Seven Sharp. There was no mention of Petrie’s last day.
Petrie’s exit comes after TVNZ management embarked on a cost-cutting exercise in June to remove up to 90 staff from the company.
During her 14 years co-hosting 1 News, Petrie reported from London, UK, to cover the royal wedding of Royal Prince William and Duchess Kate, and in Gallipoli, Turkey, to mark the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I.
Before taking on the news anchor role, Petrie reported as a foreign correspondent from New York on September 11, 2001, when the city was attacked. Back in New Zealand, she reported from Christchurch after the earthquakes.
Petrie posted on social media to thank her colleagues and mentors for their support.
“For 14 years Simon has had my back every single night,” she said. She also thanked former TVNZ newsreader, turned talkback host, Peter “P Willy” Williams, Breakfast’s John Campbell and the late Greg Boyed.
“John Campbell my mentor and friend, who always knew when I needed his advice. Greg Boyed, in studio he made me laugh till I cried. We still miss him dearly in our newsroom. I’ve been very lucky to have these guys in my life,” she said.
A TVNZ spokeswoman said Petrie would continue to appear on television in the future, as support presenter.
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the cuts were to protect the “financial sustainability of the business”, and were needed due to a fall in advertising because of Covid-19. The broadcaster employed 670 full-time equivalent staff at the end of June 2019.