Speaking as a real New Zealander | Derek Fox

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Youve probably noticed that I havent written a column for a few days. I came close a couple of times; I was going to write about Paul Henry. But I was pretty grumpy and it wouldnt have been a pretty sight.

Anyway Im ready now and I want to start by talking about the Commonwealth Games and because Ive been at Mahia entertaining my moko and his mother, Ive seen quite a bit of the games not heaps but enough to really enjoy seeing those athletes from round the globe.

It struck me that many, maybe most of them, wouldnt make the Olympics or the World Championships, but theyre the best their country has in their sport and theyve come to compete in this fraternity of what? Well to put it bluntly countries that were colonised by the Poms at a time when a handful of European monarchs went out and carved up the world to create Empires for themselves; then they exploited the people and resources of those lands returning the loot to the mother country.

It struck me too that most of those countries are now free, and run by their original tangata whenua except for three Australia, Canada and Aotearoa. And that brought me back to Paul Henry.

I suspect Paul wouldnt have problems recognising what a real Indian or Malaysian or Samoan or Nigerian should look like. He might struggle with a real South African; and he mistakenly believes a real New Zealander should look like him.

Henry is an egotistical, arrogant, ignorant, racist, bigot; with a self-inflated ego fuelled and condoned by his previous employers.

I had long since stopped watching the TVNZ Breakfast show because of Henry and his shallow puerile comments; so I only caught up with what he said about the Delhi Chief Minister and the Governor-General when the furore began.

Henry should have been fired on the spot, the fact that the TVNZ PR machine and its CEO Rick Ellis tried to defend his position was in my book enough for Ellis to be fired too. The people of New Zealand all of them, own TVNZ. It isnt a vehicle for people like Paul Henry and Rick Ellis to cowardly use to ridicule and insult people who dont have the same looks and skin tone as they do; or the equal opportunity to talk back.

Their pathetic statement that Henry says things that others think is insulting and self-serving.

Yes Paul Henry has followers. There is a mean, bigoted and cowardly streak in New Zealand; people who are too gutless to come out and stand by their racist views publicly, but feel happy that good-ole-Paul was there to do it for them.

Rob Muldoon had a similar following, Hitler too.

Muldoon often referred to the old Commonwealth shorthand for when white fellas ran the show; and thats the way Henry and his supporters see it too.

Was Paul Henry a real journalist, no! Neither it would appear were there any real journalists around him; otherwise they should have known that the Governor-General was born and bred here. I was a freshman at university when I first came across the present GG; he was a senior student and one of the shining lights of the student union. As a real journalist Ive come across him many times since as he progressed through his highly successful law career, into the judiciary and then to Governor-General. I believe hes one of the finest people weve had holding the office.

Henry has been insulting and demeaning many times on Breakfast and each time Rick Ellis and Co supported him; they also promised just like this time that they would review editorial standards around the show. Clearly they dont take these matters seriously so its time the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Race Relations Commissioner took firm action.

Real journalist and media commentator Phil Wallington summing up the Henry affair, dryly observed that in the space of a week Henry had gone from a rooster to a feather duster.

It shouldnt have taken that long.

4 COMMENTS

  1. One thing I have noticed during this debate is that the issues many supporters of Paul Henry bring up in their "the world has gone PC mad" defence are not in fact the comments that I found most offensive by Henry.

    in the Governor General discussion, it was as Derek points out – his inference that a "real" New Zealander should be a caucasian looking, middle aged, wealthy male (like himself and the John Key). Yes, bigot is the perfect word to describe those comments.

    with the Sheila Dikshit incident, the fact that he giggled like a schoolboy over the double meaning he saw in her surname just showed him to be immature and a bit ridiculous, but when he then followed up with the comment ""and it's appropriate, because she's Indian" well that is just plain offensive.

    I am so glad he is no longer on the television.

  2. One has to wonder if Paul Henry really wanted "out"? In the few times I have seen that show he seemed to display the symptoms of someone both bored and unable to take it seriously. But I tautoko Dereks observations. TVNZ has become an embarrassment right enough, and the buck certainly stops at the top. I was once ajournalist, of an older school that was no less racist but had far higher professional standards. Henry would have been a "goneburger"

    on that score alone.

  3. Who's this Paul guy again? I'm a born and breed NZ Maori ( says it in my passport) who lives in the States. I guess this Paul guys influence is limited only to his "friends" then, cos I never seen him on TV here – not like the "Boy" and "Rocky" who are being embraced by the entire world… bro!

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