6 Oct 2010

TVNZ response to Paul Henry remarks criticised

2:21 pm on 6 October 2010

The Federation of Multicultural Councils says TVNZ is gaining a track record of employing presenters who promote racism.

TVNZ says hundreds of formal complaints have been laid about Paul Henry's comments questioning whether the Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, is a New Zealander, and implying he does not look or sound like one.

Federation of Multicultural Councils spokesperson Pancha Narayanan says TVNZ condoned the 'cheeky darkie' comment Paul Holmes made on radio by continuing to employ him as a presenter and is doing the same thing with Paul Henry.

Henry has been suspended from the Breakfast programme without pay until the end of next week.

A representative of the Fiji-Indian community in Wellington describes this as a token punishment. Vinod Kumar says Henry is a repeat offender and the association is worried about what offence he's going to cause next.

The editor of New Zealand's largest Indian newspaper suggests the suspension should have happened much sooner.

Indian Newslink editor Venkat Raman says he feels TVNZ's initial response to the incident on Monday was outrageous, but subsequently did the right thing.


During an interview on Monday's show, Henry asked Prime Minister John Key if Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand is even a New Zealander.

When Mr Key replied that he is, Henry asked whether Mr Key was going to choose someone for the role who "looks and sounds like a New Zealander".

Mr Henry apologised on the programme on Tuesday morning and TVNZ announced his suspension a few hours later.