Henry Had To Go


TVNZ’s chief has done the only course possible by accepting Paul Henry’s resignation today -although Len Brown this weekend showed up why TVNZ still doesn’t get it.
TVNZ should have led the way on this and sacked him in the first place.

You can read the CEOs’s statement here

It again suggests a company that is so closeted in their own importance they don’t get it.

The CEO says he accepted the resignation because Henry’s comments “have split the community and damaged New Zealand’s international relationships” which sounds like its our fault.

As noted before, the TVNZ PR’s insightful comments after the Henry row broke showed key people in TVNZ land think its OK for broadcasters to insult people in order to get good ratings which equal healthy advertising and that playing on people’s prejudices is as OK for a state broadcaster as it was for Winston Peters.
In fact in a TVNZ interview tonight with the CEO, it was mentioned concern that advertisers were threatening to pull out.
So it’s only because of a potential loss of revenue that he has to go, not because it’s the right thing to do.

The CEO continues to argue: “As in other media organisations, there’s a fine balancing act between giving people freedom to express their opinion - which is critical in a democracy - and causing offence.”

This is not some liberal outburst of political correctness. The comments crossed the line and insulted the many thousands of people who have come here and made New Zealand their land.

It makes a joke of TVNZ’s mission.

Len Brown’s constant line about working to unite all of Auckland if elected mayor and his electoral support from vast numbers of varied communities comes at a good time.

Watching Brown in action over the weekend has been very impressive as he seems to relate to everyone without any hint of bias. He understands that NZ has changed and changed for the better.

TRUE KIWIS: Len Brown gets it

And he was great wandering around the crowds at Eden Park relating to young and old naturally ( as was John Key):

Brown’s consistent shining example shows how completely out of touch certain TVNZ people are inside their sheltered Hobson St tower.




  1. Sarah says:

    A disgraceful chapter in TVNZ’s history.

  2. Damo says:

    Well it’s a shame this site has shown its true colours as a trashy elitist political opinion blog, instead of just covering Auckland transport like it started off doing. You forgot to omit the fact that the overwhelming majority of emails and calls to TVNZ support Paul - that is THEIR voice.

  3. Jon C says:

    @Damo yes it is their right but it’s also TVNZ’s duty to set an example. Should you have mentioned you work at TVNZ ? This site is full of Auck and transport stories. I’m surely allowed to go off to the side occasionally to air my thoughts on life.

  4. Damo says:

    It did set an example - by suspending him a week ago (before any mention of advertising considerations).
    It would be nice to see some original thinking on this story instead of just jumping on the anti-TVNZ bandwagon like all the rest.

  5. Damo says:

    @Sarah if you want disgraceful, listen to Radio Live weekday afternoons…racial slurs on a daily basis - where’s your outrage there? I guess you’re just another PC elitist who can’t handle thoughts different to your own.

  6. Sarah says:

    @Damo Charming. So as you work at TVNZ do I take it everyone at TVNZ thinks its OK to just insult people in a Paul Henry fashion? Im glad you dont know my surname or you would do a Henry on that!

  7. William Ross says:

    Fascinating thread.
    Yes there are stations that do dubious stuff but TVNZ is a taxpayer funded state broadcaster, NZ’s official broadcaster which is why such incidents lead to diplomatic incidents.
    Until recently TVNZ even had a government charter.
    I hope Key sells it.

  8. Chris says:

    I dont mind Henry. I admit he does say a lot of unnecessary things, but he still is a funny guy. It will be sad not having him there.

  9. JX says:

    @William Ross - I hope Key sells it too - maybe then it can stop pretending to be a modern media entity - when really it is just an aging government department in commercial entity clothing!

  10. Suwooop says:

    He really should have a show of his own, one where he can be politically incorrect as much as he likes. Only then will people stop taking him seriously…

  11. Andrew says:

    @William Ross I don’t know where the whole “state funded” argument comes from. Yes,TVNZ is government owned but it pays the government a dividend of it’s profits that it makes through selling advertising, just like any owner of a business gets money from selling its product. TVNZ is just a bit more successful than its counterparts on tv and other media that are struggling and often seems a target, good ole kiwi tall poppy syndrome if you ask me.

  12. Mike says:

    Jon C
    Damo probably did not disclose his workplace due to having comments likes Sarah’s 9.59pm post.
    Totally disagree with you publishing where people work.

  13. JX says:

    @Mike - Ummm it sorta takes only 5 secs on Google for any of us to find out he worked at TVNZ - if he didn’t want this to be known then he probably shouldn’t have used his common online handle that links very quickly to his Twitter account in which he then proudly states he works for them

  14. Geoff says:

    Damo - Hurting people through racial slurs in any other work place would be considered serious misconduct, resulting in immediate dismissal. A two week suspension was inappropriate and fell well short of the high standards we expect of our national broadcaster. Henry’s recent comments were just the end of a long line of behaviour that TVNZ should have never allowed in the first place.

  15. Anthony M says:

    though i agree he had crossed a line. he shouldn’t have needed to resign. a suspension is enough. the media has blown this incident WAY out of proportion and the indian media is only paying attention to it so they can avoid the embarssment of their Commonwealth games in Delhi.

  16. Bill says:

    I bet Henry didn’t think the comments on the Governor General plus the Indian Chief Minister would manifest from suspension to resignation let alone an “escalating” diplomatic incident. He is a public broadcaster paid by the taxpayers who is suppose to set a reasonable example and standard, which he in this case failed to do. Like with anything else you do their are consequences.

  17. Joshua says:

    A real shame, I never really watched morning tv, because I work, however when I was injured watching Paul was great, breakfast will be nothing without him.

    But I think the real shame is democracy didn’t work here, Paul had the majority of support from the people of NZ, take a look at facebook and opinion blogs, the only reason he was forced to quit was because of NZ media, in particular NZ Herald, who we all like to bash on this site, blew it out of proportion.

  18. Jon C says:

    @Mike He proudly details it on his Twitter page that he works at TVNZ and what he does there so I don’t see any secret being disclosed. I didn’t publish his name but it is very relevant that if he is going to completely rubbish me and this site for making comments about Henry, in context the fact he works at TVNZ is a disclosure he should make.

  19. William Ross says:

    Damo’s attack on this site was appalling. He just confirms it is the culture of some people at TVNZ to be arrogant, nasty and derogatory about people they don’t agree with. I wonder if he works with Henry or on the Henry show?

  20. Paul Q says:

    @Bill & @ William Ross:
    Why are there so many people that are ignorant of the fact that TVNZ is NOT funded by the taxpayer! It is advertisers and other commercial relationships that fund TVNZ’s income. As Andrew states above, not only are TVNZ not state funded, but they also have to pay a quite high dividend out of their profits to the Government. I’m sick and tired of hearing people repeat this misconception!.

    On the original topic, Paul (and Pippa) were the funniest thing to hit NZ television for years. Now I will have more time to get ready in the mornings, as I won’t be watching Breakfast anymore.

    I do agree he went a bit too far but this country has got to learn to lighten up, and get out of this crazy PC pit we’ve been slowly sliding down into. Laughter is the best medicine.

  21. nzbcfanboi says:

    Well until the government got rid of the charter and the funding that went with it was taxpayer funded to small degree. That doesn’t include Breakfast of course and still make a profit giving with one hand and taking with the other was never going to work. National want to get it ready for privatisation like they did in 1999 so of course they got rid of the charter rather than the need to make a profit.I sure Paul will find a pace on talkback radio were that kind of thing is more acceptable

  22. Olivia says:

    Thank goodness! I’ve been waiting for him to either be fired or resign and I’m glad he’s not going to be on Breakfast anymore. Now I’m actually going to start watching again.

    @Paul Q
    Laughter is the best medicine? Yeah, all those NZ-born people who aren’t white or Maori should learn to laugh about how others don’t think they’re New Zealanders! Being stripped of your national identity is just so damn hilarious. LOL!

    Complaints about “PC gone mad” are basically people saying that they don’t want to have to think about what impact their bigoted comments have on others, or deal with the consequences when they do say them. Sorry, freedom of speech works both ways. If someone says something offensive, people can call them out on it, and trying to silence that is infringing on their freedom of speech.

    See ya, Paul. Won’t miss your racist, homophobic and generally intolerant comments in the slightest. :)

  23. Joshua says:

    Olivia - Agreed on the freedom of speech, however we also live in a democracy, and when the majority of the viewers and population are supportive of Paul Henry retaining his job, it’s sad to see that a power house in media, NZ Herald are able to put pressure on one of their media competitors to the point of resignation.

  24. Paul Q says:

    @nzfanboi - yes, under the charter, TVNZ did receive funding for some programmes which would otherwise not have been made - but the amount received was a fraction of the dividend returned to the government.

  25. Olivia says:

    Ok, please post the number breakdown of this so-called “majority” of viewers and population that support bigotry from the scientific poll that I was unaware had been conducted.

    Although, TBH the thought that the “majority” of NZers are bigoted and intolerant is depressing, and highlights the fact that we aren’t the supposedly accepting, multicultural society we seem to think we are.

  26. Jon C says:

    Yes, the charter money of $15m was said to be less than 5% of TVNZ’s operational budget and since the charter was introduced by Labour in 2003, the government(s) have demanded more and more dividend from TVNZ which it can only provide through increased ad revenue.
    But the issue is TVNZ is a state public service broadcaster which is why the Government remains in the TV business and therefore has a wider public responsibility with its programmes than a normal privately run commercial operation. That is why it still has a responsibility to provide some minority programming as do the BBC and ABC
    State funding is given for non commercial TVNZ6 and 7 but this is under review.
    I can’t see any justification for TVNZ remaining under government ownership..

  27. James B says:

    If insisting that a person be judged on their actions rather than where their ancestors came from is poltical correctness gone mad then I guess I’m PC. Some people are talking about Henry as if he was a great satirist, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t funny and he wasn’t clever he was just rude.

  28. Jeremy says:

    Agree with you James, Henry is pretty easy to imitate.

  29. Joshua says:


    bring back Paul Henry Page - 27,000
    Boycott Breakfast until Paul Henry Sacked - 2,000

    On Heralds own Page Henry had 57percent support compared to 43percent people who want him gone, the last time I looked. And thats from the company who has been bashing him.

    Oh and before you say anything, this is just as sicientific as the super mayor poll, if not more so considering it has a much bigger sample size.

  30. Joshua says:

    Sorry forgot to mention the fair fax poll had over 80% saying either two weeks was punishment enough or he did nothing wrong.

  31. Jon C says:

    @Joshua No one is arguing his popularity - that is why he is/was paid thousands and driving TVNZ’s key breakfast slot. He was a key reason why TV3′s attempt to do a rival breakfast show flopped. Nor is anyone arguing his ability as a broadcaster, recognised by his recent People’s Choice award at the TV awards or the fact he is often very funny.
    This is about a TV presenter publicly suggesting the Governor-General is not a real Kiwi and whether that’s acceptable as part of his stand up comedy routine on the nation’s state broadcaster.

  32. Olivia says:

    Wow, Facebook. How could one argue with such an accurate polling method?

    As for NZ Herald, they say it all on their own site:
    “nzherald.co.nz polls don’t claim to be scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate”

    A couple of internet polls can hardly be used to determine the true feelings of the entire nation. There also seems to be complete ignorance from commenters on various sites not understanding exactly what freedom of speech is.

    Maybe you should read this as to how polling of public opinion should actually be done. http://tinyurl.com/2fy3aes

  33. Matt says:

    I do wonder how many of the people who support Henry aren’t white or Maori (upper-) middle class.

    Breakfast is supposedly a “news and current affairs” show, not a statire or entertainment show. Henry’s behaviour and statements were inappropriate for the format, and at least some of the reason for India’s reaction is that it’s meant to be a factual record not a piss-take.

    One thing’s for sure, Henry wasn’t challenging the establishment (other than the GG, and that on the “wrong” grounds) when it came to taking the mickey. His targets were minorities, of various shapes and shades, not the majority. I wonder how many people would be coming out in his support if he routinely targeted the nasty, right-wing slant that’s become prevalent in the political main-stream? Or the fact that National can throw $1.7b at a bunch of South Island farmers but won’t put that money into child care for the poor non-white residents of Mangere and Otara? Bet he wouldn’t be getting such rabid following then.

  34. Jon C says:

    @Matt Good point, he has made comments about numerous groups including gays. People seem to forget he was a National candidate in Wairarapa in 1999 losing to Georgina Beyer!

  35. Olivia says:

    Precisely. I’m wondering what the exact demographic of his supporters is; I’d bet the farm the majority are white, and would therefore not implicitly understand just how hurtful racism can be and how insidious it is.

    Not to mention the white, straight males who wouldn’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against by society. And no, getting in trouble for saying racist things is not discrimination.

    “His targets were minorities, of various shapes and shades, not the majority. ”
    Yep. And whenever there were complaints, they were told to “laugh about it” and they were being too sensitive, therefore marginalising them further because their feelings and opinions about being scorned don’t matter.

  36. James B says:

    Exactly. That sort of comment would be acceptable if not very funny in late night stand up. Breakfast with the PM not so. Paul Henry needs to decide what he is a serious journalist or a comedian. One can get away with a lot more as a comedian than a journalist, mainly because if you label yourself a comedian people know not to take you to seriously.
    At the risk of running into Godwin’s Law Hitler was pretty popular it didn’t make him right though.

  37. Bill says:

    @Paul Q
    Are you employed by TVNZ or something? The way your talking sure sounds like it, doesn’t it.

  38. Chris R says:

    Paul Henry and his ilk, and the appalling programming that is foist upon us, are adequate evidence that TVNZ considers it’s viewers to be morons.

    I agree - sell the beast!

  39. anthony says:

    “See ya, Paul. Won’t miss your racist, homophobic and generally intolerant comments in the slightest.”

    Homophobic? oh please, i got blackmailed, bashed and threatened before. and im only 17. those comments would affect me in the slightest.

  40. Olivia says:

    “Homophobic? oh please, i got blackmailed, bashed and threatened before. and im only 17. those comments would affect me in the slightest.”

    Not affecting you doesn’t mean they weren’t homophobic, nor that they wouldn’t affect others. You don’t get to speak for the feelings of other people. Calling gay people unnatural is homophobic, bashing people physically isn’t the only way to demonstrate this.

    Was that a little Freudian slip there with the “would affect me in the slightest”?

  41. Thomas S says:

    TVNZ markets itself as “one New Zealand” yet it continues to allow out of control TV hosts making fun not once but twice of Indian people. In a bid for ratings and the advertising revenue it brings in, it encouraged it.
    I see Michael Laws has now apologised for his rude comments. I suppose he will resign and Paul Henry will take his talkback place on Radio Live.
    I just don’t understand how people justify their actions! I must live in another world.

  42. Joshua says:

    Olivia - You obviously didn’t read my comment, it’s just as accurate as any other scientific poll, how do you suppose to get a true reflection on any study, when conducting phone surveys, the popular method used by scientific polling, you only get a proportion of the population, the one willing to answer surveyors, everyone else just hangs up or tells them they are to busy.

    At least on facebook you have a whole lot of people from different backgrounds economic standings and otherwise socializing, you get a higher sample number giving you a higher rate of accuracy. Now I’m not saying it’s accurate, just saying it’s just as accurate than other forms.

    Jon C - Yes I understand, however my point is, it didn’t warrant him leaving, the racist term that got us in trouble overseas was the dickshit one, however lets face it, he would make fun of it if it were a Indian, Maori, White European or otherwise. Him asking if Governor-General was kiwi was below the line, however didn’t warrant getting kicked off breakfast or to be bashed around as much as it was. The suspension was hash enough, I don’t think Paul is truly Racist it was a mistake which he apologized for.

  43. Nick R says:

    I wouldn’t call him a racist per se, his bigotry spans a wider breadth than just race.

  44. Paul Q says:

    @Matt “Or the fact that National can throw $1.7b at a bunch of South Island farmers” - Are you talking about the money for South Canterbury Finance under the deposit guarantee scheme? If so, that was required under the rules of that scheme, which if I remember correctly, was set up by Labour.

    @Bill - no I’m not and never have been employed by TVNZ - I just like to make sure that both sides of the arguement are heard (which is healthy) and people don’t make incorrect statements as fact.

  45. James B says:

    I’m amazed at the number of people who are getting offended because of the criticism of Paul Henry. Shouldn’t they just get over it.

  46. Sacha says:

    Democracy is not mob rule, Joshua. And freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. As most people realise once their teen years are behind them.

  47. Joshua says:

    Sacha - So what your saying is democracy is not about giving what the majority of what people want but the minority? To me thats exactly what your comment is suggesting, please do correct me cause I’m just a confused stupid kiwi.

    Also Freedom of speech, I thought the whole idea was so we are not crucified for saying something different, people can make their own opinions up from there.

  48. Sacha says:

    Joshua, democracy is about balancing the rights, responsiblities, needs and strengths of majorities and minorities. Being less black or white in our thinking helps.

  49. Joshua says:

    definition of democracy - “control of an organization or group by the majority of its members” from the dictionary

  50. James B says:

    @Joshua If you worked for a company and insulted a supplier or customer on company time would you be entitled to protection under freedom of speech? Freedom of speech has its limits.

  51. Kel says:

    I love Paul Henry!!! He was a pleasure to watch. And he isn’t a racist person, that’s obvious. You can tell when a person really means hate! I don’t think it’s even worth arguing much about.

  52. Matt says:

    Are you talking about the money for South Canterbury Finance under the deposit guarantee scheme? If so, that was required under the rules of that scheme, which if I remember correctly, was set up by Labour.

    National extended it to allow in SCF, against advice from Treasury. They could’ve left SCF out in the cold. They also didn’t have to pay out the interest that was outstanding, as that’s not required by the guarantee.

  53. karl says:

    I can’t read the first 50 comments! Seems to be some technical bug…

    “You can tell when a person really means hate!”

    So when someone simply strongly dislikes other ethnic groups, and makes it clear that they aren’t welcome, and aren’t Kiwis, and makes a habit of saying so, rudely, my taxpayer money should fund his work?

    Does he expressively have to support violence before you’d say he’s crossed the line? The “you are not one of us” is exactly what breeds violence and discrimination. The bigots feel all warm and understood.

  54. Jon C says:

    @Karl The first 50 are back. Found them!.

  55. Bill says:

    @Bill – no I’m not and never have been employed by TVNZ – I just like to make sure that both sides of the arguement are heard (which is healthy) and people don’t make incorrect statements as fact.

    @Paul Q
    Clear and fair enough

  56. Joshua says:

    @James - Business case is not the best to use, as Paul actually earns money for TVNZ by expressing his views, so in his situation yes, however if you are harming the company by reducing it’s earnings than no.

    In this situation however it’s a third party, a compeditor that has put the pressure on forcing him to resign, I don’t think that’s right under any situation.

  57. James B says:

    @Joshua You completely misread my point. My point is that there are limits on freedom of speech. Whether he breached those limits or not is the $64,000 question.
    The face is that it’s probably better for him that he did resign now. He was always going to step over the line at some point and insult someone more poweful.


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