10 Oct 2010

Paul Henry resigns from TVNZ

7:46 pm on 10 October 2010

Television New Zealand presenter Paul Henry has resigned after public outrage over his on air comments about the Governor-General and an Indian Government Minister.

Henry was given a two-week suspension without pay for suggesting Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, who has Fijian-Indian heritage, is not a real New Zealander.

He also mispronounced and ridiculed the surname of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit while presenting the Breakfast programme, prompting an apology by the New Zealand High Commissioner in India.

High Commissioner Rupert Holborow was called in by the Indian foreign ministry and handed a demarche, or formal protest, on Thursday.

In a statement, Henry said it is no longer practical in the current environment to do the job.

He said it is clear things have now reached a point where his actions will have to speak louder than words.

Henry said "I am saddened by this whole episode - sad that I crossed the line in the first place, and sad that an employer I have always served with pride has had to suffer slings and arrows".

He said he did not want to continue to be used as a lightning rod for racial disharmony.

PM says resignation brings closure

Prime Minister John Key says the episode has been sad and regrettable.

His office says Mr Key thinks Mr Henry's resignation brings closure to the matter and we should now put it behind us.

The Prime Minister has refused to comment further.

TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis commended Paul Henry's decision to resign saying his comments have split the community and damaged New Zealand's international relationships, and there is no going back from that.

He said he would be apologising in person to the Governor General and also apologised to the Indian community, both in New Zealand and India.