Paul Henry says he'll be paid 'a fraction minus 15 percent' of normal fee for Rebuilding Paradise

Paul Henry has said he will be paid "a fraction minus 15 percent" of his usual fee to host a new TV show coming to Three next week.

He was interviewed about Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry by Magic Talk host Ryan Bridge on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the show's premiere on April 20.

Henry's new show was announced shortly after MediaWorks - which owns Three, Newshub and Magic Talk - asked staff to take a voluntary paycut to help it survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

"How much are they paying you? Because I'm 15 percent down on my salary at the moment as is everybody else here at MediaWorks - are they paying you enough for a new yacht?" asked Bridge.

"I am being paid to do it because if I wasn't, it creates an extraordinary false economy and it's actually bad for everyone else at a workplace if volunteers come in and work for nothing," said Henry.

"But to answer your question, it's a fraction of what I would normally get out of bed for. I'm sorry - a fraction minus 15 percent."

Henry also made reference to the staff at MediaWorks who refused to take the paycut.

"Alright you could throw a bone maybe to a few of the people that haven't on the basis they might be in the situation where maybe they're on the breadline anyway. But how do you live with your fellow workmates if you haven't taken the 15 percent paycut and you know they have? We've all got to pull in the same direction."

In a video posted on Three's Instagram last week, Henry commended the Kiwis who have abided by the rules of the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown and condemned those who had not.

Like some other broadcasters, Bridge has suggested that the lockdown has been too extreme a method of fighting the pandemic, despite its success - but Henry said that was "clearly wrong".

"How much we have to rebuild the country depends on how long we're in this bloody lockdown for," said Bridge.

"We've had [other guests] on my show saying we'll never eliminate this thing, we're all eventually moving towards herd immunity - stop with this silliness."

"No, clearly we've already proved that's wrong," responded Henry.

 "I am personally convinced that we'll be able to nail this thing. All we have to do is stave it off long enough to be able to do that and I think we've proved we can do that."

Henry also offered to bet money on a vaccine being developed after Bridge suggested one might not.

Although he openly supported the National Party at times during his former broadcasting roles and ran as a candidate for the party in the 1999 general election, Henry expressed support for the Labour-led Government's steering of the country during the pandemic.

Bridge questioned whether Jacinda Ardern was the right person to be Prime Minister during the resulting economic recovery.

"That is a very interesting question because maybe we have to rethink for a while the way politics is run," responded Henry.

"This adversarial form of politics that basically every country in the developed world operates with, maybe that's not the way you get out of something like this. Maybe it's got to be much more conciliatory.

"Now is not the time to change the Government."

Henry's tone around New Zealand's response to the pandemic was positive, but he also acknowledged the hardships being faced.

"There's no question that we are facing a huge challenge and a lot of pain. All New Zealanders will face pain but they will not all face the same level of pain and we have to be cognisant of that."

Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry premieres Monday, April 20 on Three at 9:30pm.

"That's quite late at night," Bridge commented on the timeslot.

"It's prime time," said Henry.

"Is it? Have they moved prime time?" replied Bridge.

 "You know what Ryan? If I'm on, I move prime time," said Henry.

Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry will also be available on demand via ThreeNow.