NZ Herald defends Paul Holmes racist rant

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We’ve received this generic response from the NZ Herald from one of our contributors Dr Anna Sutton, who sent a letter of complaint to the NZ Herald regarding their decision to publish a racist rant by former current affairs host Paul Holmes. Although they acknowledge the “raw and provocative style” which is apparent, they did not address the concerns that Dr Sutton expressed in terms of his article being factually incorrect regarding the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

No doubt the same response was sent to anyone who complained to the Herald, so if you didn’t read on to see what the reply would have been.

Read below for the full reply:

[sws_yellow_box box_size=”580″] Dear Dr. Sutton, Thank you for your formal complaint regarding the Paul Holmes column of Saturday Feb 11.

As you are no doubt aware, it is one of many messages we have received on both sides of the ledger since publication. Those supporting his right to his opinion have markedly outweighed those against. Having said that, we are concerned that a number of people have taken such strong exception to it. There is no question the piece was written in a raw and provocative style.

But it is not, as many people have suggested, a commentary on all Maori people or Maori culture generally but on the few protesters who disrupted proceedings. Nor does it breach Press Council principles, which accommodate freedom of opinion in comment pieces. It was one of a series of opinion pieces discussing Waitangi Day and its place in New Zealand society which began the previous Saturday with a front page cover story by Buddy Mikaere and included an editorial which recognised the obvious divisions in society but supported the idea of the day as being our national day.

The column in question was clearly aimed at the behaviour and attitudes of Waitangi Day protesters at Waitangi itself similar to criticism by former Prime Minister Helen Clark of protest leaders as haters and wreckers, in another context. Disparaging and critical words, but neither intended to cast all Maori in that light.

Holmes expressed his opinion as a columnist as he is entitled to do in a country where freedom of speech is regarded as a central pillar of public discourse. Although many have objected to it — as is their right — I hope they can recognise that the very freedom in the concept of freedom of speech is meaningless if it applies only to speech that offends no one.

As has been recognised by the Press Council, true freedom can mean the freedom to be ignorant, offensive and wrong. We strive to publish the breadth of opinion on major public issues and no doubt will carry strong views in the paper and on our website in response to the latest Holmes column. David Hastings Editor, Weekend Herald [/sws_yellow_box]

26 COMMENTS

  1. REPLY TO MIKIE: Move one???? In order for us to move forward WE MUST LOOK BACK – therefore History, and its address for justice – is the key to move us FORWARD!!!

  2. Jade has mentioned the FREEDOM OF SPEECH.. We have LOST our rights to speak as MAORI in the Crowns courtrooms – as soon as we enter – The Judge is priority!! We have lost our rights to speak in local newspapers to reply to RACIST attacks!! So that korero about FREEDOM OF SPEECH needs a reality check!! In a pyramid society of classes: rich middle poor – WE HAVE LOST OUR RIGHTS to SPEAK!! This message from Maori Einstein aka LADY JUSTICE

    • You said it in a nutshell……now this words Freedom of Speak is only designed to the exceptions of pakeha……Paul Holmes should be proud of his race and the cruels things they do to their children and woman,all across the world

  3. I reckon HE (Holmes) should have been JAILED for his Repetative RACIST adult behaviour korero!! More TV Presenters and Newspaper Editors FOR JAIL SENTENCES. It proves the point…RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN NZ!! This message from the 1st MAORI JUDGE sworn under the scales of Justice to Judge!!

  4. Move on people and allow people to speak. Take a point, none of you were alive at the treaty stop holding up progress and move along.

  5. whats the difference between paul holmes and that maori university professor a few months back saying that the plight of the maori race eg high abuse rates, low education standards and poverty are all the pakehas fault.there is no difference except the colour of the two people, one can say anything they want and get away with it the other says something and they want a public execution. it’s about time a bit of fairness was brought into the equation and “when all else fails use the race card” was dropped

  6. are you fricken serious Hastings..never mind your flash words bla bla bla speech blooming english..get a real life and read between the lines mate..dam media u idiots are all the same..anything for a story eh??? no matter wat the cost..TINORANGATIRATANGA.

  7. Will they give a Maori writer, academic, journalist etc an opportunity to write a similar piece on why Pakeha people ruin Waitangi day? This is real racism: controlling what is written, how it is published, when, and who it is about. There is no chance of rebuttal by the minority who have been abused.

  8. If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing…

    Malcolm X

  9. ‘Cheque Book Journalism’ at it’s best! If this type of behaviour is acceptable in the NZ Media..what else must be acceptable to the selected few! David Hastings..wise up or get the hell out…

  10. Dear Theresa Aperehama,

    Thank you for your complaint regarding the Paul Holmes column of Saturday Feb 11.

    There is no question the piece was written in a raw and provocative style. But we do not believe it constitutes “hate speech” or close to it. It is not, as many people have suggested, a commentary on all Maori people or Maori culture generally but on the few protesters who disrupted proceedings. Nor does it breach Press Council principles, which accommodate freedom of opinion in comment pieces.

    It was one of a series of opinion pieces discussing Waitangi Day and its place in New Zealand society which began the previous Saturday with a front page cover story by Buddy Mikaere and included an editorial which recognised the obvious divisions in society but supported the idea of the day as being our national day.

    The column in question was clearly aimed at the behaviour and attitudes of Waitangi Day protesters at Waitangi itself similar to criticism by former Prime Minister Helen Clark of protest leaders as haters and wreckers, in another context. Disparaging and critical words, but neither intended to cast all Maori in that light. Holmes expressed his opinion as a columnist as he is entitled to do in a country where freedom of speech is regarded as a central pillar of public discourse.

    Although many have objected to it — as is their right — I hope they can recognise that the very freedom in the concept of freedom of speech is meaningless if it applies only to speech that offends no one. As has been recognised by the Press Council, true freedom can mean the freedom to be ignorant, offensive and wrong.

    We strive to publish the breadth of opinion on major public issues and no doubt will carry strong views in the paper and on our website in response to the latest Holmes column.

    Yours sincerely

    David Hastings

    Editor

    Weekend Herald

    This was my reply…I told him what my thoughts were so am awaiting another email…if I get one. Racist the lot of them. Enough of all the intellectual claptrap they try and bamboozle you with…it’s plain and simply ghastly!

  11. Okay I see your point Whakarongotai But I can not remember many times that the Maori party fought for Pakeha rights. I think it is using a braod brush to say the represent all New Zealanders??

    Beau I get your point. But to add people here are saying that the protestors where 60 percent Maori 40% pakeha and this was noted by just looking at them,I have Maori cousins that would be mistaken for Pakeha was that not a racists view??

  12. Two comments:

    (i) The key point which Hasting’s apathetic response fails to deal with is that Holmes’ hate speech breaks NZ law. Since 1971 NZ has restricted “freedom of speech” making incitement to racial disharmony a criminal offence. In the public arena of NZHerald, calling for abolition of Waitangi Day so that Maori can have it for themselves to plot against white folk… certainly seems like incitement to racial disharmony and therefore a criminal offence.
    http://www.hrc.co.nz/report/chapters/chapter08/expression02.html

    (ii) Hasting’s says that “it is not, as many people have suggested, a commentary on all Maori people or Maori culture generally but on the few protesters”. Yet in the actual article Holmes says things like “never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies”. That comment had nothing to with a small group of protestors (many of whom were pakeha). It was obviously aimed at Maori in general. What is Hasting’s thinking??

  13. I was at Waitangi day & saw the hikoi up to the flag pole & I believe the protesters were a 60/40% split of Maori & Pakeha. So what else in the NZ Herald is TEKA????

  14. When Holmes uses appalling generalisations like “the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies.” how can the herald possibly defend him with claims that it was not a commentary on all Maori people? Indefensible!. Herald you just outed yourself (again) as a racist paper who supports racist people with the amazing ability to ignore blatant racist generalisations.

  15. George – its not that white people cant make comments or are automatically racist – but rather that Paul made no distinction between the protestors at Waitangi and Maori in general (who are two distinct groups).

    It would be like someone saying that the vast majority of paedphiles are older caucasian males – therefore paedophilia is a caucasian problem.

    That, along with the way Paul wrote his words, is bullshit.

  16. My respose to this is to encourage all those opposed to comments made by Paul and blacklist the Herald…so if you are a regular prescriber, dont buy it….simple as…I did 6 years ago(my own private war against the herald…go read it online…!!

  17. This country is just about face, If anyone white makes a comment they are racist, but to have a political party named after a race of people representing exclusively a race of people is not?

    • I can only assume you refer to the maori Party. This party does not and never has claimed to “represent exclusively a race of people”. In fact if you care to read their literature you will see that they wish to do their best for all people of this country. The word ‘maori’ (lower case) actually means ‘normal’ whereas the word ‘Maori’ (with a capital) was used by early Europeans to describe the indigenous people of this country. The maori Party uses the lower-case version as it’s logo. You are therefore mistaken in your assertion that this political party is “named after a race of people”.

    • So George… you think the Green Party is named after a race of Green people, and represent exclusively a race of people who are Green and no other race? Because you didn’t actually mention which Party you are implying. Could you spell it out please? Just saying… *smirks*

      Where on Earth do you get the idea that The Maori Party, or Mana Party only represent their OWN people and culture? How do you know that policies, procedures, and changes in legislation that could be made by either of these Parties will ONLY benefit ONE race of people as opposed to uplifting our Country as a whole? Can you show me where either of these parties have stated that they are exclusively representing Maori? Or is this just your presumption, based on no evidential facts? Just wondering is all. Because if you can show me where your comments stem from, and if you are indeed correct, I will not be happy with the Party that I support and will be very vocal about saying so. However, I seriously doubt you will be able to produce anything of substance to back up what you just spat out in your post.

      As for David Hastings so-called response to complaints… PATHETIC, TEPID, DIM-WITTED, WEAK, DISGUSTING!!! Wake up you silly man – Him, Paul Holmes, AND The NZ Herald need to learn what REAL journalism is. Your time is up, those days of ranting racism and using the media to portray Maori in a negative light is over. We have our OWN media, fair and open minded reporters and journo’s – and OMG – reports that in turn, are honest and balanced! You no longer have monopoly over the information we consume. We are immune to your sad attempts at propoganda. WE have more control than ever before over what will be fed out to the World about us, our grievences, our celebrations, our disappointments and our acheivements – NOT YOU!!! Don’t you just hate that David Hastings, you’re losing control and that must scare the begeebers out of you.

      That is all… cheers.

      • Lol, sorry George – my comments to you probably sounded harsh. Actually it was tongue-in-cheek. No offence intended 🙂

    • hello george something 4 you to ponder on i am a maori not pakeha so i am racist for wanting to be maori, if i wanna be maori and belong 2 a maori party have a maori rugby team and maori ideas, i’m rascist, you tell me why i’m racist for wanting to be who i am. oh thats right we were made into brown skin pakeha, we are all new zealanders. yet maori are the ones who are truly bi cultural, bi lingual and have an understanding of both worlds a case of having 2 how many pakeha can say the same. maori are eastern thinking living in a western world. wont be long and your national icon will truly b all black it nearly is now, will that 2 be deemed racist in years to come and on that note why are maori excluded from being polynesian like samoans, tongans etc oh thats right because we are new zealanders now brown skin pakeha. in closing the word pakeha seems by some to be derogatoy yet have no problem being called palangi, in samoa, tonga, kwai lo in chineese which in english means foreign devil and thats ok yet pakeha means pale skin and its not cool. it also used 2 be if u had pakeha blood in you, you were deemed maori whether you were half, quarter,etc, now pakeha say differently they try to justify how much pakeha are in us and say derogatory remarks about how there are no full blooded maoris left, let me assure you that there are my mother included in fact her geneology dosent even leave taranaki she is pure no contamination or mixing of the blood same as my father on my birth certificate both my parents are down as full blood so what does that make me, yet i get told repeatedly to my face by ignorant and arrogant pakeha there are no more full blooded maori, the moral of my story is there are two sides on a coin and maori are on both what side are you on or 4 that matter paul holmes how much does he really know about maori other than playing the quitar,drinking beer,fighting which is endemic to every race not just us i’m a nationalist first new zealander 2nd like yasser arafat, the israelis etc a homeland for maori where we can be who we are and live as maori am i still rascist now

  18. This is not an acceptable response to what was clearly racist hate speech and therefore against the NZ Law. It might be worth us all making a complaint about the reply as well.
    See here for the Law against Hate speech which Holmes and the Herald have broken: http://www.hrc.co.nz/report/chapters/chapter08/expression02.html
    See here for commenting guidelines which show the Herald do not even stick to their own rules: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/site-information-help/news/article.cfm?c_id=500827&objectid=10423788#2

  19. There appears to be conflict between the concept of ‘freedom of speech’ the Weekend Herald editor refers to, and the promises of ‘equity of values, and collective wellbeing’ in our nations founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. That is, freedom of speech cannot trump equity of values in a bicultural nation. The very insinuation that this does, is formed on an inequitable and in my opinion, racist, perspective on the matter.

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