Paul Henry, Man Or Hobbit?

NZ Television host Paul Henry “shocked the nation’ this morning with his ‘un-PC’ comments about the NZ governor general Sir Anand Satyanand, which happened as international attention is focused on India and the Commonwealth games.

The offensive remarks were contained in a question to the Prime Minister when Mr Henry asked John Key whether Sir Anand (born in NZ of Indo Fijian descent) was a New Zealander or not.

According to an account in the NZ Herald:

When assured by Mr Key that he was, Mr Henry asked if he was going to pick someone who looked more like a New Zealander next time.

Which rather raises the question what a New Zealander should look like in supposedly multi-cultural, ‘non-racist’ New Zealand. The only national stereotype we at E2NZ could come up with was that of a hobbit, which Sir Anand certainly doesn’t resemble in the slightest, though Henry does have obviously Middle Earth genes.

The thing is that Henry is supposedly the voice of the common man in New Zealand – this is the guy who dares to say in public what everyone is thinking in private, or so Andi Brotherston, spokeswoman for  the state broadcaster TVNZ, would have us believe, in the Herald:

“The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud,”…

“The question of John Key is the same, we want the answer but are to scared to ask.”

Sir Anand is in India for the Commonwealth Games. His public affairs manager Antony Paltridge told NZPA: “We won’t be dignifying that sort of comment with a response.” source

If he had any shred of decency Henry, who works for the national TV station, would resign immediately before he draws any more international attention to New Zealand’s appalling culture of racism and social exclusion. If there’s one phrase that you’ll never hear in New Zealand it’s “celebrating diversity.”

The UK’s Telegraph picked up on the story, which has received attention around the world,  adding that

Last week he caused another stir by appearing to deliberately mispronounce the name of Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of the Indian capital Delhi, in a story about the Commonwealth Games.

A few weeks ago Paul Henry accepted the New Idea People’s Choice Award at the Qantas Film & Television Awards, some of the viewing public in New Zealand obviously love him and share his sentiments.

Facebook – I Am Boycotting TVNZ….

A Facebook page called “I am boycotting TVNZ until they sack Paul Henry” has been established, it seems that some of the NZ public are deeply embarrassed by his comments, it has been ‘liked’ by only 416 people.

“Paul Henry shouldn’t be paid by New Zealand taxpayers to be nasty and vicious to others.

Saying that the Govenor General, Anad Satyanand doesn’t look and sound like a New Zealander is racist and outrageous.

TVNZ must put aside their fuss about ratings, and do what’s best and fire him.”

Yes, but we all know they won’t. The page may be found here