Mark Richardson teared up during an emotional farewell for Duncan Garner on The AM Show on Tuesday.
Garner announced his resignation on Monday saying it was "best job ever" but that he was struggling with the "brutal hours".
"I am so proud of what we have achieved in all the teams I've been a part of and in this tough, hostile business you're deluded if you think you do it alone," Garner said. "Three and now Discovery has the most talented staff and best journos I've ever worked with. Their commitment, knowledge, sources, sheer guts and work ethic is legendary and continues to be so."
"This place has been home for 20 years and it's bloody hard to say goodbye but I have to. I have a few important family and personal things that need my attention and now is the right time to go," he added.
"I am devastated to see Duncan go. I mean we have been together for five years haven't we, I mean you've [Gillies] been together a lot longer but as a team I think that sets some sort of record when it comes to doing what we do," Richardson said.
He went on to recall his first day on the show, saying he was completely "in awe" of Garner.
"I remember sitting down in my seat for the first time and being pretty much in awe of what he could do. I just thought 'my god this guy is a gifted broadcaster'."
Richardson said Garner is not only a great broadcaster but also someone who "genuinely cares".
"Here was a guy who was in the job because he genuinely cared about people and I think it's our time to care about him. He's going through some stuff now… and full power to him and I think it's our time to care about him as a person."
Richardson teared up while revealing Garner was the only work colleague he's ever invited to Christmas every year.
"That will continue... if he is listening, 'you're welcome at Christmas anytime you like'," Richardson said while holding back tears.
Gillies also farewelled Garner, saying he was going to be enjoying some all too deserved time off.
"For the past 20 years Duncan has given it his all and achieved it all, always with high energy and with that cheeky grin," she said.
"Duncan loves fighting for the underdog and holding politicians to account and he's done it time and time again. He has a ridiculously big heart and he is incredibly loyal."
Garner's departure from Three brings his almost 20 years of service to a close. During this time he has been the network's political editor, co-presenter of Story, co-host of 3rd Degree, host of The Nation, host of Radio Live Drive for five years, fronted Three's Election Night programming across multiple elections and for the past five years, he has anchored The AM Show.
In a statement on Monday, Newshub Director of News, Sarah Bristow, paid tribute to Garner's years of service to Three.
"Duncan is an award-winning journalist who has been a huge part of Newshub and Three for two decades. He is an exceptional conversationalist who has the ability to extract information out of politicians and hold them to account, while also connecting with everyday Kiwis, understanding the issues that impact them the most," she said.
"Over the years, Duncan has helped mentor some of our brightest journalists and for the last five years has driven the news agenda with his interviews on The AM Show. Morning television hours are gruelling and I respect Duncan's decision to focus on himself and his family. Duncan leaves with my best wishes for his future."
Duncan Garner's departure is effective immediately. Ryan Bridge will be hosting The AM Show this week and an announcement regarding Garner's replacement will be made in due course.