'I hope the Lord decides I'm on the right side of the ledger'

Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013

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In his last interview, broadcast six days ago, Sir Paul was asked why he believed he had earned a knighthood.

"Because I love people," he replied. "And I've really worked hard and I did it well, I think."

Working mornings on radio and nights on television for 16 years required "sheer bloody-minded stamina".

"It denied me time with my kids. My kids never got that time with me after school . . . They were always first, I would like to think, but that's not true.

"I'd signed contracts. I had obligations to my employers. I was number one in a massively crowded radio market and was for 16 years."

It cost him his marriage to Hinemoa Elder.

"I hurt a very brilliant, beautiful and loving woman. We haven't had the best of relationships for the past 10 or 20 years to be honest", but a few days before the interview she visited him. "It was lovely and I was so appreciative. Peace was made. She's happy," he said.

Much of his life was public, and "gruesomely so", he said.

TVNZ was worried he was seen as having an abrasive personality and the publicity department decided he could soften up his image by speaking about his family and children.

"I went along with it . . . If you're demanding the right to sit there in people's living rooms and ask brutally tough questions . . . then I think the public have a right to know who's doing that."

The most influential woman in his life was his mother Chrissie. "She was sharp, she was wise. Even in my adult years if I had a problem I'd go to her."

Millie, while "biologically not my daughter, I love her so much. We have such a good relationship. And we've had to fight for it, you know, from the forces of damnation".

He stood by Millie through her battle with methamphetamine "because years ago she turned around to me and called me, ‘Daddy'. She was about four or five. I thought, ‘wow, that's nice, I like that'."

He said he had been blessed to have wife Deborah and "a day doesn't go by in which I don't think how much I love Deborah".

He had accepted death was near and he planned to "increase my peace with God".

"I'm worried about what's over the hill. Far away and over the hill. I wonder what there is.

"I've lived a diverse life. I've known some wonderful people. I hope I've been wonderful to them in return. I hope the Lord decides I'm on the right side of the ledger, that's all".

He'd expected to come back to his property south of Hastings and "amble around for years and years and tell stories of the great old days of broadcasting. And no, it's not to happen.

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"Too much hard living, too much booze, too many beautiful women.

"Regret it? I don't have too many regrets. Life turns out as it turns out.

"I will give my life now to some contemplation. I will walk around here and contemplate. And pray for God's mercy."

- The Dominion Post

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