No More Breakfast

Update: If you’re looking for an official statement, here’s one my lovely wife wrote, which is far more articulate than I could ever be:

Paul Henry’s comment made me very uncomfortable as a New Zealander, and I don’t wish to associate, or be associated with people who make such comments. Although I doubt that my actions will in anyway influence someone such as Paul Henry, I do not wish to appear to condone his perspectives by my inaction.

I’ve just sent an email to the producers of TVNZ Breakfast, resigning my post as a regular gadget and tech presenter. It’s something I’ve loved doing more than you can imagine, both in terms of personal promotion, and the steady stream of incredibly cool technology I play with.

Bear in mind that I’ve been blogging about gadgets and tech for 7 or 8 years, and the Breakfast segment is an extension of that, not the cause.

So when I read this morning that a Breakfast presenter has made yet another trolling statement (this time barely veiled racism), I decided I’ve had enough. Previously I’ve had to be circumspect about my responses to his statements, but I’m fucking sick of it. I love our multicultural, vibrant country to death, and anyone who would like to foment racism simply for a laugh or to get more viewers can take a jump.

For the record: I think Paul is an intelligent guy who does an incredibly difficult job making up crap to say for 2.5 hours every morning, with producers talking in his ear. This makes his comments even more abhorrent in my mind: I believe it’s premeditated.

I’ll carry on blogging and reviewing gadgets as I did before Breakfast, but with a clearer conscience. If anyone wants tech or gadget commentary online or on TV, just drop me a line.

And of course if Paul Henry moves on I’d be happy to work with the wonderful team and producers at Breakfast again.

377 Replies to “No More Breakfast”

  1. Nice one Ben, fair enough, not enough people stand by their principles these days. good luck and I will keep my ears open for any opportunities

  2. Right on, bro. I’m sure someone else will pounce on you and your gadget expertise and screen presence.

    And nice work Allie on the official statement with no swears in it!

  3. I have been a fan of Pauls for some time. But have to admit, these publicity stunts aren’t good for TVNZ, Breakfast the sponsors or anyone on the show with him. Surely with all the talent at TVNZ they can come up with other ways for Paul and the show to entertain us in the mornings. Afterall aren’t there like a zillion great stories to tell about great kiwis doing great things every day rather than bagging people for the colour of their skin

    Good work Ben

  4. Good on you Ben. Paul Henry is an oaf with little wit and even less intelligence. His churlish utterances are appreciated by similar dim-wits, racists and generally vuglar people.

  5. Well done. Fantastic to see you standing up for your principles. I grew up in London and moved to NZ recently and I find it completely unfathomable that he is on THE national breakfast show.

  6. Well done. And I can’t believe the comment from TVNZ in NZHerald:

    “A spokeswoman for TVNZ said there had been two complaints this morning. “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,” she said.

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

    WTF

  7. Some might say that Paul is just doing his job and asking the tough questions, perhaps you could just do your job and talk tech… Not act as a PC filter for the masses. Yes it’s your right to pull out but who is the troll here… Why did you need to tweet and blog your reasons if not to generate a response for your own benefit.

    So retard is ok but questioning someones nationality, someone who clearly does have dual bloodlines in his breeding, isn’t? Self promote much?

    1. “..questioning someones nationality”.

      John Key answered the question of his nationality (New Zealander). Paul then proceeded to insinuate (and you continue to maintain) that his “breeding” should be a basis for selection as a Gov. General, in spite of his impeccable record and credentials.

      That is called racism. Full stop.

  8. Contrary to popular belief ignorance is not ‘bliss’, it’s just ignorance. Oh, and not funny or witty either. I’m not the first and won’t be the last to say this:

    “good on ya mate”

    Not enough people standing up for what they believe in. Hopefully more to follow.

  9. I’m even more alarmed after reading the TV spokeswoman’s comments as quoted in the Herald – Henry’s cretinous remarks were not what I “quietly think” and it’s troubling that she’s suggesting most New Zealanders think that way.

    1. I thought that exact same thing!! I want to write to her and say speak for yourself because I most definitely am not thinking that!

    2. Me neither. I’m sick of people including me in their “He’s just saying what everybody’s thinking”. No. No he really, really isn’t. I’m going to find out where to write to her.

  10. Hi Ben. Your wife has made a excellent statement. I’m glad you took a stand where it counts. I love this country too and the veiled racism disgusts me.

  11. Onya mate*! Its about time someone stood up to Pauls ignorant and xenophobic ways. While he can sometimes be intelligent, and occasionally insightful, he is all too often just plain offensive.

    *I know that is an Aussie colloquialism, but both my kids were born there. I guess they won’t be allowed to be Kiwis either in Paul’s eyes, despite one of them having spent the majority of their lives here.

  12. Well at least one good thing has come from pauls actions… maybe they will get a decent tech guy to replace you :p

    I look forward to not having to cringe every time your comments are off the mark.

  13. Well done Ben for acting on principle. It is alarming to see that essentially racist/sexist/everything-ist behaviour like Henry’s continues to be frontline television in NZ. Like many people, I simply refuse to listen to or watch such an odious and offensive person like Henry. All he needs now is a KKK outfit to complete the package. Oh no. I shouldn’t say that. It might give him ideas for the next show! You are a legend Ben and thanks -you’ve made my day! 🙂

  14. Thank you. Time we stopped doing nothing while public mouth- pieces offend for the sake of it, and then look at the camera with a “I’m so clever and funny” smirk

  15. TVNZ have endorsed Henry’s comments, as they have endorse his previous blatant racism, sexism, and anti-disability prejudice. There are two ways to combat TVNZ here. The first is to complain to start a BSA complaint, and the second is to contact the advertisers politely but clearly and say that you do not wish to purchase their products while they are associated with this man. As TVNZ will largely ignore the first option, offering a token apology at best, I suggest concentrating on the second. When they lose major advertisers on Breakfast they might wake up.

  16. I’m a South African immigrant to New Zealand of European descent, got my citizenship last year.

    But I imagine I “look like” what Paul Henry thinks a Kiwi should look like, nevermind that Satanyand was born and raised here.

    Paul Henry can suck it, racist bloody POS.

    I can’t believe this kind of stuff still happens in NZ. But with depressing frequency, if a Pakeha hears I’m South African, and we’re alone, it’s like they feel they have license to expound all their racist views.

    Idiots.

    I moved here for the lifestyle, not because I’m a racist arsehole.

    1. I admire your stance. Saying nothing or doing nothing is as good as supporting the racist mentality. It seems a sad contradiction that someone such as yourself loses a job they love for simply being a decent and thoughtful person of the greater community in which we live while those with the “ugly tongue” will continue to guffaw on the steam of their own verbal farts.

      Kia kaha my friend. You have conviction that will hopefully inspire many others.

  17. So let’s get this straight: you only want people to say things you personally agree with? Will you STFU when someone else does the same to something you say, for their own personal reasons, or are you a hypocrite?

    1. Thank you so much!!! There is that quote along the lines of when good people stand back and do nothing it enables bad things to happen … this is an example of good people standing up for their beliefs.

      I don’t think you could totally agree with everything a presenter says but I think Henry has shown an inability to show remorse or a smidgen of empathy for the MANY people he has hurt by his comments.

      I made a BSA complaint about his treatment of Greenpeace activist Stephanie Mills. At the time I had moved to watching Sunrise which was far funnier and much more interesting. It is so sad that we now only have one ‘news’ option in the morning now and I just can’t watch him anymore!!

      I also object to the obsequious co-presenters who giggle, encourage or by their silence, condone his actions. I could never sit that close to the horrid man. I also doubt his intelligence as this has more to do with his possible academic smarts and everything to do with his lack of emotional intelligence.

  18. Good on you! I have made a formal complaint and also let TVNZ know I don’t appreciate the sweeping statement made by their spokesperson. You should be very proud of yourself for leaving!

  19. Well done mate! Paul Henry is a bigot for some-one who looks as though me has brown blood in him.
    Secondly, racism should not be tolerated at any level and excuse as a joke. The Governor General has earned the place he has in our society and is respected by people more intelligent that Paul Henry and by royalty. It would be a good day in NZ if Paul is finally fired for his bigotory.

  20. Think you are being way to precious mate.

    What a shame, sadly they will replace you and life will go on as normal.

    You’ll be missed, but not for long.

  21. Ben, I am sad to say I haven’t seen you on TV, but I can clearly see now you are a person of integrity and honesty. Good on for doing the right thing. Paul Henry is an embarrassment and it is about time people called him on his cynical use of “shock jock” tactics to raise ratings. And TVNZ looks just as much to blame for allowing him to continue. So, well done Ben!

  22. Bravo Ben. Your move today makes me proud to be a New Zealander. I too have complained to TVNZ, and will not be viewing anymore TVNZ content until Paul henry resigns or is fired.

  23. Congratulations.
    It is wonderful to see someone in the front line making a stand.
    It is hard enough to sit at a work dinner party and realise a colleague is a bigot, must be even harder to do it on live television.
    This isnt about expecting everyone to agree and have the same beliefs as you.
    Its about everyone feeling safe in being themselves without some pompous bully attacking them, and not putting up with the bully.
    Kind regards,
    Scube,

  24. To say that something Paul Henry says is wrong is a tough thing sometimes. You risk being called humourless or – god forbid – politically correct. Good on you for making a principled stand.

  25. What a sad bunch of people on here, this my first and last visit to your site.
    Freedom of speech and the right to voice your opinion is at the core of our democracy.
    Good on you for doing what you believe is right, but after all it is your opinion of henry and judging by Paul Henry’s people choice awards I would say you are in the minority.

    1. I agree Paul. I used to like Ben’s slot, but I love Paul! So goodbye Ben. Good on you for taking a stand I guess, but Paul at least is true to his feelings and beliefs.

  26. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (I only wish you could have done it live, on air, and put that horrid little man in his place.)

  27. The best bet for everyone is ‘NOT’ to watch Breakfast. The more people that don’t watch it – the better. Ratings are the priority, not the personality. Once the ratings fall below acceptable limits – then the show will get axed. Whether Mr Paul Henry gets axed (at all) is another question.

    1. Ratings are a strange beast however. IIRC, there are roughly 1000 “people meters” in New Zealand. The statistics from these devices are extrapolated into total ratings.

      Unless you’re actually viewing in a household that has a peoplemeter, your choice to watch Breakfast, or not, is absolutely unmeasured. In theory a few people who watch with peoplemeters will make the same decision as you and others, but in practice on issues like this the ratings are very inaccurate.

  28. Good on you. The reality is that nobody will miss you, and you will be replaced pronto. Can we chill out?! This country is so up tight. Relax, take it easy, life is too short.

  29. Well done Ben. If more Kiwis got as much spine as you’ve shown, wankers like PH would have to wake up to themselves. Notice that Keys didn’t answer back. Our PM is lacking backbone as well. TVNZ deserves PH.

  30. Good on you for being true to who you are as a person….as it has been said many times; “be the change you want to see in this world”….

  31. Ben I take my hat off to you…you stand tall. it is absolutely appalling that Key did not just walk out, instead he condoned those racist remarks. Gutless. TVNZ must sack Henry or approve his racism. Which is it to be?

  32. BRAVO! As you (or your wife) says he won’t care, but we do! The guy’s preoccupied with putting people in little ‘boxes’ – why bother? I don’t get it. Anyway, for all his self importance, I can get rid of him with a flick of a switch. He can’t get rid of the GG.

  33. Thanks for representing the views of other, ethical NZers! Surely TVNZ have to draw the line somewhere – Paul Henry can’t be allowed to go on like this just in the name of ratings!

  34. Excellent stand Ben! I applaud you! Paul Henry seems to revell in being the centre of attention for all the controversial reasons and I am soooo sick of the Paul love. I for one cannot stand his sarcastic and belittling wit and I commend you for not standing by while he creates more discension and prejudice through his latest rants. He needs to be sacked and you need to be reinstated in my opinion!

  35. “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.”

    1. I for one do not think like Paul Henry and rue the day that I ever would. He is despicable and needs to learn to stop being so ignorant.
      “Ignorance breeds prejudice
      while education breeds understanding”
      We all need to learn how to understand each other, not make jokes about difference.

  36. we’re cancelling our advertising on TVNZ and TVNZ online, will never again, as long as Paul Henry is employed by TVNZ.

    Maybe, this the only way TVNZ will take note, when they starting losing money because of this guy.

  37. Anand Satyanand’s parents are Indo-Fijian (father) and Anglo-Indian (mother). Now considering that most Polynesian/Melanesian people in NZ immigrated to NZ or their ancestors immigrated to NZ after Anand Satyanand was born. It is a reasonable question to ask, as most Polynesian/Melanesian people his age in NZ immigrated to NZ, and may not have gained NZ citizenship.

    Grow up Ben

  38. Thanks for standing tall for what you believe in …. apathy must not reign !
    Racist remarks like Paul’s should not be tolerated or blindly accepted on national TV

    You and your wife can stand tall

  39. This country is only becoming more and more overly politically correct… If your offended by Paul’s remarks then I suggest you request cartoons such as Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show to removed from NZ television far sooner than Paul’s presence on the breakfast show.

    1. Can’t you see that a comedy television series is a bit different than a news interview of the prime minister? I’m okay with jokes but racist comments in a serious context are not okay.

  40. Congratulations! Standing up against bigotry is important, if sometime hard. I hope if ever I am in a similar position I too will do the right thing. Cheers.

  41. Henry is well out of line and not for the first time but… didn’t you tweet not so long ago that you were thnking about giving the gadget reviewing up anyway ?

  42. Good on you Ben. Can’t say I have ever seen Henry myself and the occasional newspaper articles on him are always rubbish. He’s a moron. The GG went to my school – Sacred Heart College. Fairly “Kiwi” kind of place given that it is over 100 years old…

  43. Hi Ben,

    Good on you mate. I can’t for the life of me understand why TVNZ have left him on TV for so long in this day and age. John Keys’ will be smarting from aligning himself with the village idiot.

    I think the high court summed him up best. I look forward to reading about his canning.

  44. Can’t you admit that to hear Paul Henry say that, in his noticeably pommy accent, is just a tiny bit funny, yes he was born here, but he sure doesn’t sound like it.
    People need to stop being so precious, and have a laugh or two, Paul upsets someone on a pretty much a daily basis, thats why he’s so funny.

  45. Good on you mate! Paul Henry is just a sharp tongue.. Lets wait and see what Sir Anand will do about it. He picked on the wrong guy.. He is a lawyer for GOD’s sake. Check this blog:
    http://tumeke.blogspot.com/
    Paul Henry was born in Auckland, but moved when he was 11 to Bristol to live in England but the Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand was born and raised in Auckland – so by Henry’s definition, the Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand is more of a New Zealander than Paul Henry.

  46. Well done Ben. I think it is a shame that you have had to make a sacrifice to stand up for what is decent. We can’t say we are multicultural and tolerant if we don’t walk the walk and talk the talk too. I am proud that someone is prepared to stand up and say this isn’t ok and I am pleased to see people standing behind you too.

  47. The actions of Paul Henry and Paul Holmes before him are making New Zealand look like an ignorant backwater. No wonder other countries make fun of us when we choose these unenlightened, racist blow-hards as our media representatives. Even if the Broadcasting Standards Authority uphold our complaints, a fine for Henry is not going to cut it. It’s time for New Zealanders to take a stand on this and for viewers and advertisers to boycott TVNZ in protest. I’m tired of cringing whenever I turn on the TV.

  48. Sorry to hear that Ben. I do like Paul as a presentor who has plenty of wit and an excellent sense of humour.
    Paul, mars his own reputation by occasionally making some silly off the cuff comments which I must admit are sometimes quite disturbing and a little insensitive. ( There was also another incident a few weeks ago with respect to the donkey in Russia, that was traumatised as a result of being made airborne in a parachute. Paul found the whole incident veryhumourous, whereas I like many others found it very cruel).

    Just as much, I don’t like being refered to as a Pom, considering I have been living in New Zealand now for 22 years, have a NZ passport and my 3 children are all born here. So thank you for taking a stance against any racist comments, particuarly those that are broadcast via the air waves.

    P.S. I hope his Mum Olive, gives him a clip around the ear for being the silly little boy that he sometimes is.

  49. Congratulations Ben, your integrity gives me hope. From the statement, you also have a wonderful woman beside you. I stopped watching the Good Morning show earlier this year, as my form of protest, after his appalling behaviour over the Greenpeace speaker. That he has been able to continue to insult various people or groups since without being called to answer for his behaviour is unacceptable to me. How far does he have to go before TVNZ find his comments offensive? He certainly doesn’t represent my thoughts and it is a very sad state of affairs for New Zealand if he is saying what most NZ’s think! You have my utmost respect and thanks…I wish others would follow your lead.

  50. You are an idiot.

    There are many things, issues and causes to take a stand on. And you pick this one?

    Where were you when women were degraded by the moustache on a lady issue?

    But. You are an idiot in a free country. All power to you.

  51. Paul is one of the only television presenters who says what he thinks, and he is entitled to, as you are. My only comment to you, is get over it! Without Paul Henry, TVNZ would be boring (pretty much like your segment) Sorry, but freedom of speech etc.

    1. Jo, there is no law or statute in New Zealand that allows for freedom of speech. However, if it was constitutionally protected, as is the case in the United States, state run television is under no obligation to provide Henry a platform for his bigotry.

    2. I would agree Jo.
      TVNZ would be boring without Paul Henry, with a capital ‘B.’ What Ben has overlooked is if he was an influential character within the broadcasting authority e.g. the producer, then his resignation would possibly have had more merit. Paul Henry is ‘Breakfast’ not Ben.
      Instead, today, we wake up and without being condescending to Ben: “Who cares that we no longer have the ‘geek’ on Breakfast?” Life will carry on as normal and Breakfast will fill Ben’s slot with a million other topics. So Ben’s resignation will have little credance or impact on Paul Henry’s role or popularity.

  52. Respect!

    The asshole doesn’t deserve to be a citizen of this good country. Those who agree with him or forgive him can sod off too.

    BTW he is every bit the public servant as MPs are, paid by our taxes to say shit. If he wants to be a shock jock, let him do it at the expense of advertisers and private sector bosses, not NZ state broadcasters.

  53. Congratulations, that’s what I call integrity. I will now stop watching TVNZ until Henry is gone. As long he is with TVNZ I shall watch ‘3’ and I will promote this to my friends and family.

  54. On behalf of the citizens who find a lot of Paul Henry’s comments offensive – we thank you for taking a stand Ben. Whilst no-one is holding me down to watch TV1 whilst I’m getting ready for work in the mornings, and I know I should switch on the radio instead – I always get a dose of cringe factor watching his show and haved often wondered how his colleagues cope with his appalling behaviour. You have now provided the answer!!!

  55. Thanks for taking a public stand on this. These comments really are the final straw, I agree.

    — From a former Breakfast viewer

  56. While I agree that the comment was racist, don’t you think we’re just getting a little too politically correct if you make a stand like this over this comment?

    It’s not like Paul Henry said that Sir Anand wasn’t a New Zealander or doesn’t deserve to be one.

    If you were meeting or saw our Governer General for the first time, you’re not going to know all the background. You’ll see what they look like and hear the name spoken and because of that I partially agree with what Paul was thinking when he asked if the next one would be more Kiwi.

    I think the fact that someone above has commented on contacting the Fijian association of Wellington also shows that people do in fact judge others by face value. If we are truely multicultural and wanting to embrace it, shouldn’t this be a New Zealander association?

    1. Actually – a “New Zealander Association” would be reflective of a “melting pot” culture. A multicultural society allows people to embrace and practice their culture, ethnicity and religion while at the same time being a New Zealander. But whatevs.

      In Canada the past two Governor-Generals have been foreign-born visible minorities. Adrienne Clarkson (née Poy) was a refugee to Canada from Hong Kong. Michaëlle Jean was a refugee to Canada from Haiti. Everything worked out fine – and the Queen didn’t have a stroke out of confusion. They excelled in their positions and it just made the role more reflective of the diversity of Canadians.

      I had thought New Zealand wanted the same.

  57. Thank you for doing this. As a foreigner in NZ, seeing this racism so openly expressed and condoned is extremely depressing. It makes me wonder whether staying in this country is worth it – because I could never be considered a “true” New Zealander. Or maybe because I’m white, I will be. And I’m not okay with that either. By you actually taking a stand, I have a little bit more faith in this country!!! Thank you so much for that.

    Paul Henry’s apology is even more offensive because it fails to consider how his words affect so many others around him. I am hurt by his comments and I can only imagine how NZ-born visible minorities are feelings. The statement shows that he just doesn’t get it.

    Good luck! If I ever need a tech gadget person for a TV show, I’ll give you a call 🙂

  58. Oh, and I don’t think it is premeditated, I think its so deeply ingrained that he actually won’t understand what all the fuss is about. He actually is a bigot, and this is what he believes – that’s why this shit just pops out of his mouth. I used to think he was playing devil’s advocate, but no longer.

  59. I’m sure the page views for your site sky rocketed today!
    It’s good to know that when one takes such a moral stand you are recognised……
    I’m sure you weren’t intending to be attention seeking.

  60. Noooooo! No more 4 minute, incredibly rushed gadget reviews after I turn off the telly to go work. Damn you Paul Henry, how will I cope?

  61. I applaud you for taking this significant step to demonstrate how utterly appalled you are (along with so many of the rest of us Kiwis). Perhaps this time TVNZ will take notice that he is single-handedly destroying a good programme and the brand of TVNZ. Hopefully the net result will be you back on air and him off for a while. Good luck.

  62. Good on you dude, stand tall and proud for making this stand. I was appalled when he said that this morning, and it sickened me at the time that we allow people to say such disgusting things on New Zealand television screens unchecked. The worst part, I think, was how the Prime Minister didn’t say anything at all.

    Kia ora Ben, kia ora.

  63. I think in a wider context, Paul Henry’s on-air sewage-mouth is a symptom of TVNZ suffering from terminal prolefeeditis.

  64. Thank you on behalf of all the gorgeous kids that I teach at a multicultural primary school, who I hope won’t have to put up with loudmouthed, thoughtless rudeness from people like Paul Henry as they grow up. I thought the quote from TVNZ’s spokesperson excusing Paul Henry on the grounds he says what we “quietly think” was disgusting. Be very proud.

  65. well done Ben. Thank goodness that there is someone in Radio that has the dignity to stand up to the racist and bigoted comments that are made under the guise of humour. Kia kaha

  66. The only time people have paid the slightest interest in this site is NOW – thanks to Paul Henry. Why don’t you take a stand with much larger issues. Im one of the minorities and to be honest, people like you make me slightly sick – better issues mate. Nobody was killed or harmed!

    1. Jo: If there’s something true about your comment, it’s that you are “one of the minorities.” That minority of assholes in which Henry also belongs.

  67. Hi Ben

    Although I admire your strength in losing out on a great deal of coverage and money, have you heard of the term “Devil’s Advocate”?

    When somebody like Henry is interviewing the PM, he has an obligation to ask questions on behalf of the audience.

    Love it or hate it, a percentage of the audience holds that view. I didn’t see the show, but perhaps he could have framed the question in a better way.

    I am a Maori who lives in Asia, but from this distance it would be fair to say that the GG position has been an easy one to award or reward to somebody token, be it Maori, female or Asian. It probably reflects the lack of importance in the role now.

    My feeling is, why do people get so het up about small things like this? If we are mature enough we will know that it is a stupid question. The bait is laid and all the PC people snap it up. Relax and take it for what it is, a question to cater for the xenophobes and ignorant. Is it tv’s responsibilty to lead or reflect society? Or is it just tv?

    Ugly ref

    1. This wasn’t an example of ‘Devil’s Advocate’ though. The question doesn’t even really make sense, and there was simply no reason to ask it.

      “Love it or hate it, a percentage of the audience holds that view. ”

      There’ll always be a certain portion of people with racist views in an audience the size of TVNZ Breakfast’s – so what? There will be a portion that don’t think women are up to some important positions in society too. Next time he’s talking to Key about appointing a woman to an important position should he ask whether a woman can do the job, just sexist people know he’s putting their important questions to the PM? It’s a silly way to conduct an interview.

      I’m not sure what your second to last paragraph has to do with anything, even if it were true. (Other than that what Paul was suggesting was a kind of tokenism – let’s make the GG look like a supposed typical New Zealander, whatever that look would be.)

  68. it ok we wont miss you you were very un accurate with your advise and it wont be a loss you have just saved the tax payers of nz some more money by not been on tv

    1. You’re an idiot. The NZ tax payer does not pay for TVNZ. In fact TVNZ is a source of revenue for the government. No tax payer funds support Breakfast, or Ben. The only way in which TVNZ receives any government funding is through NZ On Air, which is a fund that is contestable by all NZ free to air broadcasters.

  69. Regretfully, we have xenophobic jerks, (not my first choice of words), in New Zealand too. Not only is this guy blatantly constantly kissing up to Prime Minister John Key and his cronies, he often displays a callous insensitivity to the disenfranchised, and the poor segments of our society, he also rarely misses a chance to display a barely concealed misplaced sense of cultural superiority.

    Because someone resonates with the selfish, baser emotions of a certain facet of society is not a reason to condone the behavior – and certainly not provide a public platform for them to promulgate those views to a wider audience.

    In my opinion, TVNZ would better serve it’s viewers, (especially underage children, the young, highly impressionable people who are in the process of developing into the future leaders of our society), by reinforcing positive social behavior and role-models.

    I’m sure TVNZ can find a replacement who garners the same or higher TV ratings, yet acts in a culturally sensitive fashion because that’s the way that they honestly feel as opposed to someone who deliberately calculates how far they can push the envelope without getting fired.

    The same is applicable to the producers responsible for promoting such behavior.

      1. Well said Manu…in fact, some of these authors of comments “DO NOT SOUND LIKE NEW ZEALANDERS” if we APPLY PAUL HENRY’s reasoning and rationale … I shudder to think how one can support such a stance as that of Paul or those who try to support those types of comments. Ben has done a great gesture and I have been reading this to support Ben.

  70. Hi Ben – well done! Its great to see people like you making a stand against flippant racism under the guise of ‘oh it’s all for a laugh’! All the best in your career!

  71. I didn’t agree with what P Henry said and think he should apologise and perhaps take some time off to get his act together.

    But your premeditated attempt to get TVNZ to cost him his job is simply lame. Just watch Sunrise instead.

    1. Sunrise was cancelled earlier in the year as it would seem that a majority of New Zealanders prefer Breakfast, so that’s not really an option. Infomercials aren’t much of an option either.
      I’m not sure Ben was trying to cost Paul his job… surely he did that himself when he dropped the c-word at the end of his acceptance speech for ‘fave broadcaster’? Henry’s a paradox indeed – funny and perceptive yet totally contentious and self-important.

  72. Leron

    Why do you feel that TVNZ should lead the current accepted politically and socially correct behaviour? Xenophobes pay their tv licences as well, who says their point of view has no merit? Aren’t you showing cultural superiority yourself with your point of view?

    Who knows, maybe global immigration will be looked back on in scorn in years to come, and everyone will have to return to their country/countries of origin, and the birds, bats and spiders of New Zealand can finally have their place of habitat back!

    Ugly

    1. Er… TV licenses went out with the 80’s…. 🙂

      And insults aren’t a point of view. It’s hard to not view this as a delibrate slight.

      If Henry’s comments were deliberately provocative, it was manipulative and cynical.

      If it was personal and sincere, then it was obnoxious and unecesssary, given the context.

      Either way Henry is hardly such a technophobe that 20 seconds journalistic due diligence on Google couldn’t have answered his question regrding the GG’s citizenship without recourse to crass ambush journalism.

      And for the record, until comparatively recently the majority of GG’s were emphatically not NZ’ers. being mostly British peers.

      Sir Anand Satyanand is more kiwi than any of them.

    2. ugly,
      as time moves forward, there is hope we as a species will become more tolerent and wise. your veiws , and those of PH, are backwards(ugly) opinions, which have no place on national television. you and PH belong on internet forums, where bigots flourish.
      ps:your humour is dull.
      PH is a pathetic bully.

  73. Good on you, Ben.

    “this time barely veiled racism”. I don’t think it even counts as veiled – it was simply racist. Now, as far as racism goes, it was a minor example – nothing like advocating apartheid or promoting the KKK – but it was a racist remark nonetheless.

  74. Good one Ben…get rid of Paul “ARSEhole” Henry to give some respite to long suffering people of NZ. I hear that is why Pippa left the show (citing her pregnancy as public reason).

  75. Thanks for your courage – you did absolutely the right thing. I wish the PM would follow suit and refuse to appear on the programme next week.

    There should be more people like you around here 🙂

  76. Go Ben!

    I think Ben should be free to leave. You know, like it’s his decision and shit. If you don’t like it, maybe you should harden up. Not be so, like, PC, and that. Like stop crying. Eh. Like not be so precious. I mean, I know some of you like David Brent, I mean Paul Henry.

  77. Good on you for showing such integrity Ben.

    To all those who think we should “relax” and ignore statements such as Henry’s I have this to say to you.

    What we say matters, what we do matters. We have boundries with what is acceptable to say and do for good reason. Divisive, insulting comments not only hurt those they are directed towards they create an environment where it becomes acceptable to say and do things which are more and more insulting, more and more divisive.

    Those that speak out against unjust and offensive speak become branded PC. Well given the time and knowing exactly which buttons to push I guarantee I could offend and outrage each and every one of you, no matter how much you may laugh off Henry’s statements and idiocy. Where do you draw the line, child abuse, rape, racism, sexism?

    I know where I draw mine and Henry has well and truly stepped over it.

    What you dismiss says much more about what you believe then you may think.

  78. I’ve never come to this site before, primarily because I only knew you from the excreable breakfast show which is the only thing on the box in my box when I’m having the morning crap (come back Sunrise).
    I would never support anyone who appeared on Breakfast simply because Henry like Hosking before him expressed views I loathe, and IMO anyone who appears with them is tarred with the same brush, so buggered if I’ll give em my hard earned cash.
    Now you have quit the show and denounced Henry’s loathsome POV I will use the site and will try to give you some bizness.

    PS How did you get on the show if you are NZ born and bred, most of the other regulars (well those that aren’t large breasted women) have foreign accents, scunthorpe by the sound of em.

  79. I am an African-American living in Auckland. I have experienced racism—subtle and not so subtle—all of my life. I came to live in New Zealand believing that it was a country of great openness, tolerance and understanding on the subject of race relations; for the most part, I think my belief has been confirmed. However, Paul Henry tends to make one wonder.

    Whether Mr. Henry makes provocative, racist and sexist statements solely for the sake of boosting ratings is of little importance—the damage is done simply because the statements are made.

    I am a firm believer in free speech. I think that Paul Henry should have the right to voice his opinions whether we, the viewing public, agree or not. However, as a programme host paid with public funds, Paul Henry, in no small way, represents all Kiwis, i.e. if TVNZ and the public who fund it don’t censure Mr. Henry then they appear to condone such behaviour.

    My hat goes off to you. Your integrity should be an example to all.

  80. For those claiming Paul Henry has a right to free speech, agreed, but he doesn’t have a right or expectation to consequence-free speech. Say something silly and outrageous, racist and offensive, and expected to be called on it. There are a great deal of us who were offended by his remarks and wish to make it perfectly clear we don’t think like he thinks, and don’t want to tarred with the TVNZ brush of those who “quietly think” like he does.

    Please formally complain to TVNZ at http://tvnz.co.nz/content/869443 and show Paul Henry that actions do have consequences.

  81. good on you Ben, I gave up watching Breakfast – except for your slot awhile ago because of p Henry – now I am bypassing tvnz all together because of him.

  82. Hey Ben,

    You are awesome. Good on you for making a stand. This is why New zealand a GREAT country!
    RESPECT.

    Website subscribed/bookmarked.

    BesT wishes

  83. Thanks for sticking those of us who are not, by Paul Henry’s definition, “real kiwi’s”.

    You have shown us that you have more integrity then our Prime Minister, who has made a statement saying that he disagrees with Paul, but is still happy to go on TV with him.

    Clearly the PM doesn’t really care about racism in this country.

    But you are a virtuous man for refusing to be ignore intolerable behaviour.

    My sincere thanks.

  84. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
    — Martin Luther King Jr.

    Congratulations, Ben, for not being silent.

  85. I have never been phased by any of the comments Paul Henry has made in the past but todays comment was just piss poor. To suggest that the next GG should “look and speak like a kiwi” was an appalling comment. Sir Anand Satyanand was born and raised in NZ, understands the depth of NZ’s culture/people/traditions and can also speak fluent Maori… He’s hands down more of a kiwi than Henry will ever be. If the definition of a ‘kiwi’ is an arrogant, pompous prick then we are all screwed.

    Good on you Ben! I wish you all the success in the future

  86. Thank you Ben. You did a really good thing. You’re going to get shit for it, but you know you did what you had to, and there are A LOT of people who support your decision – and a lot who would have done the same thing if they were in that position. And a lot wouldn’t have…But you’re a good person for what you did!

  87. Kia ora Ben, tino tautoko ahau i a koe….KA MAU TE WEHI!!!!!!!

    I’m so fed up with Paul Henry and his bullshit remarks toward Maori. Whilst I believe he is entitled to his opinion, it is people like PH that keep racism alive and well in any country. His desire to have no Maori party, no Maori roll and I suspect if he had his way, there would be no Maori in NZ either….maybe he’d prefer we all move to England and perhaps confiscate the whenua over there LOL…..geez wouldn’t that make for a story.

    I guess in essence, I have watched the show for years and used to enjoy his brand of humour until his comments this past year, I can no longer bring myself to watch.

    Much respect to you for your stance and for following through with your convictions. Best wishes for your future endeavours.

    Ko Zaelene Maxwell
    Ko Ngai Tai, Ngai Tamaterangi, Te Aupouri me Ngati Kuri oku Iwi

    Mauri Ora!!!!

    1. As a Maori Zaelene, I would say that having Maori seats is more racist than not.

      Who needs Maori seats when you’re a New Zealander with equal opportunities right?

      I don’t give a monkeys who the GG is, but it has always been a position that is the result of political favours one way or another.

      As far as I can remember from the list of GGs, the only true leader and representative of the Queen in New Zealand was Sir Arthur Porritt. The earlier ones were all appointments similar to our diplo’mates’ today, mates and insiders who deserved a favour. The later are all people who were admirable in their own right, but pretty much “flavour of the month” when it came time to choose a new GG… i.e. Female, Maori, Asian. Yes and next it would be nice to have a physically handicapped person, we haven’t had one of them yet.

      This is indeed political correctness gone too far, but judging by some of the comments in support of Ben, it seems there is real support for it.

      Ugly

  88. Hahaha how precious of you, have a cup of harden the phuck up, Paul Henry is a legend and isn’t afraid to say what others are thinking! Good luck finding another job THAT cushy…

    1. harden the phuck up
      eh? Ben has just said he is not interested in working with a racist bigot who seems to delight in using his position hosting a nationally broadcast programme to pander to the ignorance of other racist bigots. how is Ben being soft, exactly? Ben has said thanks, but no thanks. no hardening required, just a spine.

      1. Ben has to understand it’s not HIM that’s in the spotlight for this, it’s Paul. Ben’s opinions really don’t count at all, so the only person he’s hurting by quitting is himself. Can imagine TVNZ will just shrug and get Paul to fill in the timeslot with a much wittier, higher-ratings segment. If someone really gets so sensitive over a few racist jokes, made by a colleague, not even directed at him or his race…then sorry mate, you’re just a little bit precious. Can you honestly say you’ve never laughed at a racist joke? An Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman? What about blonde jokes? Maybe not racist but in the same category. Dude needs to grow up, this is the real world and people like Paul Henry actually acquire enough “harden the phuck up” to say what people are really thinking instead of tip-toeing around the PC brigade. Boo hoo Ben.

  89. You are crack-ups bro. So are all your supporters in the comments here.

    All PH was making was a sad attempt a humour (FYI It’s not the first time). Have none of you fullas ever laughed at a racist joke before?

    If you reckon you haven’t you are either a tiny minority of the NZ population or are a liar.

    But don’t get me wrong… I enjoyed your segments and I dig your website… but storm in a teacup bro.

      1. Yeah you’re right Steve. EVERYONE who has a good upbringing is full to the brim of “ethics and morals”.
        Only people who have been mistreated during childhood could ever possibly turn into ARSEholes.
        Of course your mummy and daddy hold your hand and sing you lullabys and help you bake cakes for the nurses at the hospice so you are the embodiment of “ethics and morals” aren’t you.
        The Commissioner, if you will, of the “ethics and morals” police.

        (Yeah you could say I have a weird sense of humour)

  90. SASS – couldn’t agree with you more. I now know what Paul Henry obviously didn’t know either re where the GG’s heralded from, thanks Paul. Paul Henry is becoming a real target for all those ‘hollier than thou” types we share this planet with. Didn’t happen to do this for publicity did we??

    1. Seems like a nice wee publicity stunt aye? Doubt his site has ever had this many hits. Way to get your name in the spotlight mate, shot! lol long live Paul Henry, he’s the only thing that makes watching NZ television bearable

  91. Well done Ben – I remember you and your sisters from Pap High. I wish the rest of NZ could have grown up in South Auckland so they could realise who real New Zealanders are and what they have to offer

  92. I retract my statement posted above. After conducting some research on the funding of TVNZ 1, I have learned that 90% of its revenue is generated from advertising. So basing my criticism and call for censure of Paul Henry on the ‘public funding’ argument is faulty.

    While I still strongly disagree with Mr. Henry’s sexist and racist statements, I do support his right to voice them.

    That being said, those of us who disagree do have the right to rail against him.

    1. Jeff – Breakfast isn’t a vanity programme showcasing Paul Henry’s views. Or at least…..it shouldn’t be. If it is, I want equal time.

      1. Steve: You are correct—I whole-heartedly agree. Henry is not a guest on Breakfast, he is the host—a host who is employed by TVNZ 1. I suppose that if I was under the employ of TV1 and espoused racist/sexist views in the workplace, I would be relieved of my position immediately. Why is this not happening to Paul Henry?

  93. Well done, Ben. It’s a real shame TVNZ seem to be willing to defend such atrocious behaviour.

    Paul Henry is THE reason I don’t watch Breakfast.

  94. good on you, Ben.
    the TVNZ spokesperson justifying it with “he says what we all are thinking” is marginally more disgusting than the racist blowhard himself. i hope the TVNZ top management get a roasting for that, too.
    and the humour and free speech excuses are pathetic too. he was interviewing the PM on a news programme, ffs! (or has KEy beeen promoted to the position of comic foil for racist blowhards?

  95. I came to say thanks for the apparant minority of us that are thinking Paul Henry is a jerk. I’m fucking sick of it too. Your stand restores my faith!

  96. Ben, your website is now one of my favourites 🙂 I respect your courage to take a stand, particularly when significant others who grace Breakfast do not!

  97. Thank you, Ben! So good to see someone (previously!) associated with TVNZ taking action. As you say, it’s unlikely to make a difference to Paul Henry, who is an unredeemable jerk, but I am so disappointed by our state broadcaster’s continued tacit approval of his bigotry.

  98. Ben who?, your stand will not be noticed tomorrow but I bet your lower bank balance will be a reminder of your “stand”. A stronger person would see it for what it is, people need to to be free to form their own opinions not be cojuled into this reactive namby pamby politically correct drule we have to be subjected to. Good by Ben, you are the weakest link…..

    1. “people need to be free to form their own opinions”
      What a load of fucking rubbish.
      An opinion is only valid if its backed up by knowledge. If everyones opinions were formed in a void and all given equal attention we would live in a chaotic world.
      What if i woke up tomorrow with the opinion that I would like to have sex with a child, should i be free to form that opinion? no i fucking shouldn’t.
      Opinions should be formed through education, and sadly many of the new zealand people are educated via tv. Think of it this way, would you want Paul Teaching your children? i sure as hell wouldn’t.
      Has this “namby pamby politically correct drule” ever hurt anyone? no. Has it had any negative effect on our country what so ever? no. Bigotry on the other hand…

      Good on you Ben, its always good to see people standing up to a dick such as Paul.

    2. “Ben who?, your stand will not be noticed tomorrow…”

      Heh.

      “… people need to to be free to form their own opinions”

      Which is what people have been doing. What you really mean is “people need to be free to form their own opinions, unless those opinions are critical of people making racist comments, or of people I approve of, or basically are opinions that bother people like me.”

  99. Well done Ben.

    Here’s my complaint submitted online: 

    “Paul Henry’s comments about the Governor General, on top of all the other hate-filled, bigotted remarks he has made about Maori, homosexuals and people with disabilities, should be enough to have him quietly shuffled off air but I know TV executives love this kind of controversy that feeds the sad prejudice of a decent proportion of the population. I have no faith that anyone with any power at TVNZ will have the moral conviction or courage to take any action against Paul Henry but I thought I should register my complaint and suggest that he breached standards of decency and fairness in his comments. I request and suggest you find a new Breakfast show host if you want to maintain any viewers who are not as prejudiced as Mr Henry, but I suspect you really don’t give a shit as long as enough people keep watching the vile he spits out every week.”

    1. Well said Manu. Like you, I felt compelled to submit a complaint to TVNZ. It is sad that no one has enough moral conviction at TVNZ to do anything. Good on you Ben. I would have done the same in your shoes. If more people associated with TVNZ – actors, presenters, producers etc took a stand against this we may see him taken off the air but without such pressure no action is likely to be taken.

      Any suggestions on how else we can try and get TVNZ to get rid of him?

    2. Silly decision you just lost a great job over a joke, that people took offence to. Your loss, but you are great and hope you do get another job soon =)

  100. I intend to not only boycott Henry, who is a divisive, racist, self-publicist; BUT ALSO all NZBC channel 1 and 2 programmes until they sack the twit

  101. Thanks for taking a stand Ben, it certainly can’t have been an easy decision. You have my respect and sincere thanks. I know lots of people love Paul Henry because he’s ‘funny’, they take the line that TVNZ seem to – “*gush* He says the things we think, but are too scared to say”. To me, that’s the definition of a bully, not a comedian. Someone who is truly funny takes what is NOT obvious and comments on it. Constantly picking the things that are obvious, the things that people (may) already feel insecure about; facial hair on a woman, funny looking singer, non-pakeha Governor General; is just cheap laughs at someone else’s lost dignity. That’s being a school room bully. Unfortunately, lots of NZ’ers seem happy to laugh along while he picks on the skinny kid with glasses. I wonder if Paul was picked on at school…

  102. Its about time something was done about this! TVNZ has indeed lost a great man! Thank you Ben and whanau for highlighting an increasing racial divide in mainstream media!

  103. Ben, I was speechless at Paul Henry’s comments regarding the Governor General yesterday, in fact I believed that he had “lost the plot”, but you “acted” – a person with integrity!

    1. good on you, we really don’t need people like that. Come to think of it, do we even need breakfast television? what kind of lives do people need who can’t find something better to do with the best part of the day?

  104. Respect to you Ben – YOU represent what I think and by your action have taken a welcome public stand. Paul Henry does not represent what I think or secretly want to say – but you do. Thank you.

  105. Kia ora koe…nga mihi nunui ki a koe! Well done for your stance!

    Like Manu I too have place a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority…no point just moaning about this racist idiot was time to do a little more to not only question Henry’s personal racist remarks but the validation of these remarks by TVNZ!!!!

    After listening to his “apology” this morning I love the following quote from Henry, next he will be saying “my best friend is a (enter the ethnic background of choice)” :

    ” That was not what I intended and I certainly didn’t intend to sound racist. It was wrong of me to ask the questions that I did.”

    Wonder what the visibly uncomfortable PM thinks of this clown… best the PM boycotts this show until he is removed!

    1. Kia ora e hoa…well written. I am learning Te Reo Maori as I love this country, all its people and in general the attitude of all who are inclusive. People do have idiosyncracies…all societies have and also have their fair share of idiots … but idiots who appear on National TV starting a day with a lot of hatred are a blot on this society. It is hight time TVNZ “starts” thinking instead of trying to always pamper and protect this clown.

    2. Well done Ben, I only wish that Pippa would take the same stance as you and refuse to work with Paul Henry ever again ………
      As for his apology, well!!! – ” ….. I certainly didn’t intend to sound racist. It was wrong of me to ask the questions that I did” all I can say is why did you say them and what did you think you sounded like if not a racist bigot? I don’t believe you are sorry at all Paul Henry, shame on your name!

  106. Your pride in yourself and commitment to your ethical standards are inspirational. Well done fella! Love your work, will track it online and hope to hear from you in other media soon.

    very best wishes

    Andy Kenworthy

  107. You have my respect and support Ben. We end up having to tolerate rascism from people like Henry and TVNZ and we shouldn’t have to accept it as part of our society. Your choice is the honourable one and I’m proud of you as a kiwi.

  108. Congratulations on your stance Ben. Perhaps more people on the show should display the same courage and moral principles and take a similar stand – including the Prime Minister!

  109. Kia ora Ben …. legend! I wish there were more people like you with integrity and guts.
    Best wishes – Mike Smith

  110. Oh yeah one other thing … all you cool cats are welcome to join our network on facebook:

    Anti Racism Movement Aotearoa

  111. Good on you! I’m so happy to hear there was someone at TVNZ that realised how wrong this was. It’s a bit sad that that one person has now left. But I’m sure your voice will carry a lot further now you’re out of there.

  112. Good on you, Ben, I applaud you for taking a stand. I half-wish I were a Breakfast viewer just so I could stop watching.

    It never fails to amaze me that Paul Henry has somehow acquired a reputation for being ‘out there’ and unafraid to speak his mind, because what he does (mocking and deriding anyone who differs even slightly from the white, middle-class mainstream) could not be more conservative and sheep-like. ‘He says what many people think but are afraid to say’ … Thanks TVNZ. Now we know for sure that you’re attempting to appeal to the lowest, most racist, sexist and fear-filled parts of people. The reason most people manage not to voice those thoughts is that they realise that at heart, it would be their fear and ignorance speaking, and they would be rightfully condemned for being morons.

  113. Paul Henry has a personality that tickles some peoples Fancy, Charms the Weak-minded & Seduces the Status Quo … TVNZ Mind-set Enables this User – Paul Henry. Problem is people have mistaken this type of seemingly ‘straight-up’ ‘multi-personality’ with being a Wise, Academic, considered, hmourous ‘intelligence’, when all it is really is – is a character with smatterings of bi-polarity, schizophrenic addictive behaviour, that seeks the lime-light and has become a Legend – Only in his Own Mind / Mouth!

  114. Kia kaha Ben! Thank you for your brave and courageous decision. Its not easy to stand up for what you believe in sometimes.

    And shame on John Key for letting those comments go without a response! Come on PM you may be able to redeem yourself by taking appropriate action against TVNZ.

  115. Well done, it was the right thing to do. Appealing to people’s dark side is easy, encouraging them to rise above prejudice is much more difficult. Too difficult for Henry’s abilities. Plus I find it insulting that public money employs him.

  116. Hi Ben

    Sorry but I don’t agree with your stance on this. I think you may have over reacted in the heat of the moment. I agree that Paul Henry was completely out of line with his comments, but I do believe his apology today was sincere today and that he regrets what he has said. As he has now been suspended, I think enough is enough.

    You are my favourite gadget presenter and I’m sure many others feel the same, why deprive us of your appearances because you don’t like something Paul Henry said! Isn’t that just making the whole situation worse than it needs to be and cutting off your nose to spite your face. Whilst you have a rally of support in your blog today Ben, us Kiwi’s can be a fickle bunch at times and it will be a case of out of site out of mind from here on in believe me. Paul will come back from this and you may be forgotten, who has won then!

    If Paul gets the reprimand he deserves and is truly repentant and hopefully learns from this major blunder, then I don’t you think you should deprive the viewers and yourself of being a part of the ‘Breakfast team’. There’s more to the show than Paul Henry you know. I like the gadgets you bring to the show and you are a great personality. Rise above this Ben. Just talk to Pippa in future!

    1. Kay,

      I will really miss Ben’s gadget segments too but do not believe he is not cutting off his nose to spite his face by taking a principled stance on this. Core beliefs are far more important than a small TV slot. It isn’t a competition between Paul Henry and Ben to be won or lost – it is about core personal values and integrity.

      Paul Henry does not seem to learn from his major blunders. He can apologise proficiently because, goodness knows, he has had enough practice.

      Well done Ben!

  117. Thank you Ben for being an pro-active New Zealander.
    Paul Henry is a blatant bigot who gets away with dribbling divisive shit out of his mouth all the time. Someone hand the man a roll of toilet paper and send him out the door.
    TVNZ needs to wake up to the fresh air of Aotearoa, why they continue employ someone with such low levels of diversity acceptance makes the mind boggle.

  118. Well done Ben, it may be one mans stand, but you have a lot of support. I hope it play’s on his conscience somewhat, but I doubt it. I however was rather upset and vented online to the TVNZ complaints department, and believe it or not I actually held back… I hope you get a small chuckle out of it.

    ‘Once again you have let the muzzle of the monkey that is Paul Henry. As a young New Zealander I once again find his comments embarrassing, offensive and unintelligent. This man has been allowed to get away with comments like this for far too long. There is brash media and then there is this twat, I would not be too far off in saying that a large part of educated New Zealand would be offended by this middle class racist bigot, who does he really think he is? There is humor and then there is blatant racism. We have a South African born woman leading our athletes at the commonwealth games, but according to that shit stain on the collar of TVNZ, Paul ‘the twat’ Henry, a man born and bred in this country is not a New Zealander because of his ethnic background. Today I am embarrassed to be Pakeha. Time TVNZ pulled finger and stopped backing this smug wanker and do something about him. New Zealand is a nation growing on it’s diverse culture, Twat Henry just took us back a 100 years or so. I feel a boycott in my bones… Starting with a facebook page (may not seem much, but that should get the attention of your rival stations as it has worked in the past), the young people of this nation should not have to put up with racism on our screens and some overpaid monkey breeding hate.’

    1. Well said Danny2chains. My TVNZ complaint was not this colourful. I too think a Facebook page wouldn’t be out of place. It seems to be a form of popular media that can actually have some affect. Something need to be done.

  119. Bravo for your action of quitting the show and actually “acting” instead of “non-action”. While I personally do not carry any grudges against any individuals, including Mr Henry, this comment is so very insensitive, offending and hurtful – full of hatred and shows the true colours the RABBITMAN is having under his facade of being “so very nice and forthright”. What is the difference between a NAZI, a Taleban or a Paul Henry or people like Mr Winston Peters, who want to inflame the society’s hatred by fanning and playing up the “look” card i.e. the race card. So what if someone is born black or brown or coloured but considers New Zealand as his/her country either by birth or by immigration like me and lives and work honestly, pays the taxes and does all that a citizen who loves his country does … I mean, what even if Mr Anand Satyanand was not born in New Zealand – though he is – what if he was born in Fiji or India!? Would his commitment to New Zealand can be questioned on the set of “he does NOT LOOK OR SOUND LIKE NEW ZEALANDER”. What if there is a New Zealander who is Anglo-Saxon but is dumb and deaf – he would not sound to Mr Henry like a New Zealander – similarly, the Maori people, who can be said to be BELONGING to this country – if anyone is supposed to be having ROOTS in this country – with their Mokos or without their Mokos would LOOK like New Zealander (NOT TO MR HENRY as he MEANT clearly an ANGLO SAXON) … so, would that mean that Mr Henry wanted Mr John Key to say that “You are the best choice Paul” but as you are required here, we shall find someone else !!!? Handling of this situation by Mr Shonkey was pathetic as well – though he tried to make amends in his “I was taken aback” interview.

    God save my adopted Country from such lunatics like Mr Henry – who want to spread the poison of racism in a society, which can otherwise proudly say that it is an inclusive society.

    But I have fallen in love with a man who has the GUTS and BALLS to stand up and say and give a sacrifice of a job for the VALUES you believe in – THANK YOU SIR – Hats off to you. To me, you are my Governor General.

  120. Kia ora!

    Congratulations on taking a stand, at personal cost. There are too few people prepared to stand for values more than dollars.

    While there are noble people like you in New Zealand, there’s still hope for the country!

    A big Thumbs Up from me. 8o}

  121. Kia ora Ben

    I completely support your stance and your outrage. I 100% agree, ‘I love our multicultural, vibrant country to death, and anyone who would like to foment racism simply for a laugh or to get more viewers can take a jump’ .

    Paul Henry has a LONG track record of deliberate provocation (check out his Wiki profile) and TV One is implicated as they know controversy will create sensation and boost ratings with a red neck minority. I am disgusted by this strategy in the name of income generation and chasing audience ratings. TV One has employed this ‘shock jock’ jerk for years. TV One needs to make a clear stand and terminate Paul Henry’s employment immediately, suspension is not enough.

    Ben I nominate you for the new host of Breakfast. You are welcome to pop round to my home in Otautahi – Christchurch any day for cuppa. Keep up the good work

    Mauri ora Stuart

  122. Hi Ben,

    It is great to see that you have taken a stand for what you believe in. I have nothing personal against Paul Henry but have also for the first time complained to TVNZ (actually I have never complained not even in resteraunts). His comments were offensive and out of line.

    Below is what I wrote to TVNZ

    This is more feedback then a actual complaint regarding Paul Henry’s comments on the Breakfast show yesterday.

    I have never written a letter of complaint to anyone but this really got under my skin and I am not sure if anyone is actually going to read this.
    Paul’s comments regarding the Governor General were at best offensive. He insinuated that he was not a real New Zealander so the questions I have are What makes him not a real New Zealander?
    Is it because he is brown skinned? Is it because his parents are from overseas? Is it because he is of Indian heritage?
    From the way he presented the questions and to the prime minister of all people it sounded like he based it on race and skin colour which offends me considering I am brown skinned (my parents were from the pacific islands) and Like the Governor general I was born here, educated here and see this country as my home and love being a kiwi.
    From Paul’s comments he obviously must think that I am not a real New Zealander.
    I know that some maybe TVNZ included would think I am taking this personally and that it was just light hearted humour that it was taken out of context. Well I would be the first to say that I love a good laugh and find a lot of things funny. But I can’t see how his comments would or could be taken any other way then to say that they were based either on race, colour of skin or ethnic background.

    Being someone who as mentioned earlier had parents who were born overseas I have along with others from other ethnic groups battled with being stereotyped or pigeon holed so to have one of the stars of TVNZ say comments like he did on National Television really got me annoyed. The governor general has an amazing resume, I have risen in the company I work in to become one of the top managers in my firm and yet his comments have made myself and probably many others feel as if we have to continually prove ourselves to be worthy of calling ourselves kiwis.

    Paul may be a decent guy ( I don’t know him) and I have heard other things he have said and had a chuckle or thought that was borderline but he has to know that he cannot just say what he wants on National television without first thinking of the consequences of his words. It may be great ratings but if this is how TVNZ and Paul Henry want to get ratings then I will be only watching Sky from now on.

  123. Good on you! Will really miss your segments which we tried to watch although not a regular watcher of Breakfast because of PH’s attitude about almost everything.

    Personally I think TVNZ spokeswoman Andi Brotherston’s position should be reviewed as well. Her statement in defence of PH was abhorrent.

    Anyway glad you stood up for your basic principles.

  124. Hey Ben,

    Good on your for making a stand on principle which is more than Paul Henry ever does. I think growing up in Papatoetoe really gives a good view that NZ is not just one homogenous mass.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  125. Good on you. Fully support your actions. Paul Henry has fully revealed now that he is a bigot. This has no place in this country.

  126. Thank you also for your brave and courageous decision. I get annoyed with his personal editorialising of everything, and I’ve never understood why a former National Party candidate has his own show on state television that lets him say what he likes. While I personally think that alone is enough reason he shouldn’t be on TV un-checked or un-countered by anyone – blatant racism is indeed just too far. Good on you . About time someone actually stood up to the worst of his bigotry.

  127. uglyref,

    “but pretty much “flavour of the month” when it came time to choose a new GG… i.e. Female, Maori, Asian.”

    Uh huh, so where’s the evidence that we’ve had more female GGs than you would expect? Have anywhere near 50% of them been female? And what’s all this really got to do with PH’s racist comment anyway? How do you pick a GG that ‘looks and sounds like a New Zealander’?

    “This is indeed political correctness gone too far, but judging by some of the comments in support of Ben…”

    I think most of the support for Ben is support for someone who put his principles before his personal gain, and resigned a tv slot that gave him a lot of exposure because of racist comments made by the shows main star. That’s nothing to do with ‘political correctness’. That tern is largely meaningless these days – a trite rebuke that usually goes unexamined.

  128. As someone from overseas (Australia) who followed this online I have to say I have the utmost respect for you Ben in taking your stand. It’s amazing that TVNZ would still want such a person (Paul Henry) as the face of their show/network (given his poor track record). I’m sure that there are many talented New Zealanders who could act more professionally while entertaining/hosting. You do your country proud (unlike Paul Henry) – It’s TVNZ’s loss.

  129. P Henry’s a bully-boy who thought he had the majority on his side be default. I’m encouraged that he’s been called on it because he’s simply out of touch. As stated above something should be done about the TVNZ spokeswoman.

    Good work Ben, for standing up for your principals. I support your decision 100%

  130. Good job Ben. Henry wouldn’t be considered fit to be on air on any channel outside of NZ, except maybe on some shock-jock late night show. The man’s a massive cock. Grown-ups learn that we need a filter on our gobs if we’re to get on with each other in a crowded city.

  131. Well done, Ben. Not an easy thing to do.

    I also laid a complaint with TVNZ:

    Comments like Paul Henry’s are terrifying when viewed through the lens of history…genocide, holocaust, star of david emblems, darfur, somalia, ethnic cleansing…shame on you, Paul. Paul should be held responsible for his comments – saying Paul was just being Paul is not enough. Can we say Hitler was just being Hitler?

    1. Thank you, Ben, for your principled stand.

      I’ve also laid complaint with TVNZ:

      I could rant and rant in this email, but I’m quite sure you are – by now – fully aware of all the issues surrounding Paul Henry and his serial offending. While the man has always been distasteful to me, he has now gone completely beyond any remote sense of human decency. He is vulgar, small minded, and out and out nasty. He is neither journalist nor comedian. His journalism amounts to nothing more than “who’s yer daddy” and his comedy routine is…well, a blocked loo is funnier than the schoolboy bully taunts he manages under some deluded idea that he’s a funny man.

      You are our proud State Broadcaster, owned by the people of NZ – not some Murdoch owned circus of the vanities. For crying out loud, lift yourselves out of the gutter. Paul Henry and Rick Ellis must go.

  132. At first your statement annoyed me, because such action is basically not going to achieve anything and after a while people will just forget. But then I thought about some of the stands I’ve taken as an act of moral conscience. At the end of the day you have to do what is going to make you the most comfortable.

    1. I beg to differ with your statement, “such action is basically not going to achieve anything.” Just look at the overwhelming support and awareness Ben has garnered from his action.

      None of us live in a vacuum and all of our voices count. Indeed, they would be a lot louder if more of us took action. The ‘swings and roundabouts’ mentality gets us nowhere. Take action, get involved!

  133. Well done on your resignation. This man has outlived his usefulness on television. I hope he does not have the opportunity to return to Breakfast or any other programme after his supension.

    1. @James Fulaina

      Is it any wonder, Third World countries fall so quickly to colonial kleptocracies with fools like you to grease the wheels. Develop a backbone man!!

      As for Ben, good on you, mate. It takes a backbone to stand up to a bully and you are evidently not short of one!!

      1. @Conor.

        No probs. With a name like Fulaina, this fellow would do well to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin for a bit of background as to the company he seems to be keeping.

      2. Non-whites like Fulaina are a ball and chain around the necks of non-whites generally. Like that loser Chalabi who sold Iraq out to the West which today is gloating over its oil reserves whilst the ordinary Iraqi who at least had a second world standard of living under Saddam, is related to coming over here or elsewhere in the West as a refugee with a begging bowl or living a home like a dog.

        As for Henry who is a Gypsy and probably closer related to me than YOU, why wasn’t he cracking jokes about Madoff and the bailout bankers over here and overseas. Instead he picked on those least able to defend themselves, as rightwing hustlers are often fond of doing.

  134. I admire your stand and the fine example of integrity you are showing to NZ and the world. I grew up in Apartheid SA and in the eight years I’ve been here I’ve felt that Paul Henry and his ilk sound just like the defenders of that brutal and failed system did all those years ago.

  135. Ben you should be ashamed of your self , You are a F******* loser.

    Your had no value anyway so good riddance to bad rubbish.
    I am sure that one day you will realise what a toss you are but too late your Goooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeee

    Thank goodness.

    1. Well done Ben – TVNZ is the state broadcaster and unless it sets a standard that is beyond reproach how can we ever criticize others such as Harawira if they start spouting rubbish that creates a divided society rather than making NZ a country that we are proud to cheer for?

      Anthony this might be a little cryptic for someone of your level of intelligence, but I imagine that there are groups in some parts of Europe where you would be much happier and where you could sit around admiring each others perfectly white skin, discussing how much better the world would be if only people like you were in charge – who knows maybe you could get Paul Henry in as a guest speaker (he might be going cheap soon)?

  136. – this is what they call cutting off yr nose to spite yr face
    you and yr high horse enjoy being all high and mighty while the rest of us can laugh and enjoy paul henry and the rest of our lives.

    at least you will have more time to hold hands and sing about peace. Maybe an extra protest or two

    ha ha, chump

    1. I get that you may not agree with Ben’s actions. But you do come across like a sad, pathetic chump. Guess who has more friends?

  137. hi ben
    i was truly inspired by your brave reaction to what happened on monday morning. anybody can comment (especially online and hide behind an assumed name), but it takes true character and courage to put your livelihood where your mouth is and take action. the last few days have been very weird for me (and i suspect the rest of my family) to have something so personal as one’s identity scrutinized across the national media, and while i wasn’t really offended personally, i was outraged that someone could believe that new zealand-ness could be judged on personal appearance, vocal accent or name. and then to be told that tvnz believes that is what most people quietly think.

    i also work in film/video/television, as a camera op/ technical contractor, and i will follow your lead and refuse all tvnz jobs while morally indefensible comments are implicitly condoned. to be honest, most of my work comes from productions on other networks anyway, so it will affect me to relatively insignificantly, but be assured of my solidarity in spirit.

    thanks again
    rohan

    ps- my opinions are my own and do not reflect those of government house, dpmc etc

    1. I think that woman Brotherstones remarks really finished it for me. Whilst most of us suspect that the antipathy between the white and non-white races is depressingly real, to have it publicised so blatantly really achieves nothing other than to drive deeper wedges into a wound that possibly will never heal.

  138. Hey Ben, well done. There’s a lot of media talk and column inches about this story but you’ve kept the talk to a minimum and done something. Thank you.

    It’s quite downheartening to read some of the comments here. But then the difference in tone between the letters supporting you and those rubbishing you (juvenile, vitriolic) is indicative of what kind of people are on each side of this debate – generally speaking.

  139. Your over reaction is pathetic, and will no doubt effect your business, I won’t be buying from you again.
    There are at least 6 websites that state the GG is of Indian Origin from Fiji! It they can get it wrong, so can Paul.
    You will be no sad loss with an attitude like yours. Paul apologised, since when is that not enough? God save us from EMO’s like you.

    1. I would call his “overreaction” very apt actually given that Henry’s statement was quite clearly inflammatory in the worst possible taste, one that can only but arouse revulsion in those with the wit to think clearly. If you can’t even take the trouble to get your facts right, I would suggest that you go back and look at the cause of this whole sorry spectacle rather than post nonsense on public sites in supprt of the indefensible.

  140. What I find very interesting is, and I have watched the clip again, is that both times Henry brought up The RT Hon Mr Satyanand’s ethnicity/country of birth, the PM giggled.

      1. It really didn’t look like it to me, Ben. He just didn’t take the comment seriously. I can’t put thoughts in his head, but he looked very much like he was slightly discomfited the second time it was said, but the first time, he just tittered.

  141. Paul Henry’s comments were crass and his silly hysterics jarring. But that is Paul Henry. I guess every country is evenly sprinkled with all types of people and we have to separate the ones we like from the ones we don’t. I’ve put your link on my FB page. Wish you tons of success as ben.geek.nz. Regards, KayEm

    1. I think it’s less of a case of what we like or don’t and more one of consistency and even handedness. When Hone made a quite legitimate complaint about this country losing its Maori identity, the whites were up in arms. Either we have consistent civility or consistent free speech.

  142. Racial bigotry is something I consistently don’t like, Ram. Pride in one’s country or community is, according to William Pfaff, a primordial instinct in most humans. To me it is rather nice to witness. As far as I’m concerned, it has to be separated from our prejudice AGAINST another community.

    1. KayEm

      If we are going to live in a society premised around secular rules of equal access, then equal they should be. Maori are constantly hounded for displaying their chauvinism (as little as they do and not in such public venues as Breakfast I must add) and yet it’s ok for whites. And this is supposed to be a secular democracy.

      If civility is demanded by one side, then it applies to all. All these ifs and buts irritate me when the answer is simple. We have fully untrammelled free speech or a fully civil society. I prefer the latter as it makes for a much gentler way of life but if we must demand absolute free speech, then so it must be, without any unreasonablelimits.

      1. I take your point about the inconsistency, Ram. However, on the wider issue, I think you might be confusing ‘freedom of expression’ with ‘freedom from consequences of your expression’. The people who support of Henry on this issue are claiming it’s about the former, but really they’re after the latter (at least, for people with similar politics to theirs).

        – “We have fully untrammelled free speech or a fully civil society. I prefer the latter…”

        I’d prefer the former; I’d rather a mostly civil society that nevertheless accepts that full perfect civility is difficult to achieve and hard to agree on. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, if you don’t believe that someone has the right to say things that deeply offend you and ‘cross the line’, then you don’t really believe in freedom of speech. I think it’s important that people can express their views even if they are abhorrent to me (eg racist views, sexist views etc). When I say “can” I mean without fear that they will break the law, that the state might imprison or otherwise punish them. That doesn’t mean, however, that others can’t criticise their view harshly. And they are not free from the consequences of that reaction, because the only way to be free from the consequences of that reaction would be to restrict the freedom of expression of the critics.

      2. @Stephen Parkes

        I was fully aware of the distinction but given the nature of bourgeoisie democracy, any aspiration for fully untrammeled freedom is pie in the sky given the nature of information and it’s mode of dissemination. As a consequence, it is often a question of challenging the capitalist on his own terms in a bid to limit the consequences of his excesses so as to protect those largely without a voice. The ideal of a fully informed citizenry capable of exercising judgement with a full grasp of the issues is, for me, a post revolutionary outcome and one that can ONLY be realised when the filters of disinformation are neutralised. and removed

        However, as things stand, the gauntlet is down on those who utilise public broadcasting to advance reactionary beliefs yet trumpet the secular credentials of this country far and wide. Let’s see those credentials Throw the media open to Maori chauvinism as well. And not in obscure ethnicised outlets, but in the mainstream primetime. Free speech contemplates full access.

        This will never happen as the bourgeoisie will not relinquish his dominion of prime time media and in all likelihood will concede civil gestures.

      3. Ram,

        – “the filters of disinformation…”

        Now you sound like your paraphrasing Chomsky! I agree to a point, but on this particular issue I don’t think it’s useful to buy into the notion that it’s even about “freedom of speech”, as many Henry-supporters have tried to make it. I’d rather just highlight their hypocrisy (which you have done), but avoid making it a contest between free expression vs a ‘civil society’.

      4. @ Stephen Parkes

        I think it’s less about competing with them as competition assumes some degree of parity from which to measure results whereas we are dealing with a chameleon that changes its spots to suit its objective and is evasive. Rather it is one of progressively exposing the contradictions within capitalist demcracy and its institutions by all and every measure appropriate. If it works, use it.

        I’m ambivalent about the post of Governor General so I’m not exactly mortally offended by the Henry affair (although the ethnocentric nature of the sorry business does leave a bad taste in the mouth.) However, Henry is the poster boy for New Zealand reaction and warrants confronting by all means available as this offers an opportunity to expose the underlying agenda by unravelling its inherent contradictions. Henry is a paid hack. There always someone esle available to step into the shoes he walks in.

  143. It seems that the self-appointed anti-PC brigade take pride in putting the blowtorch in peoples’ eyes. But when their hypocrisy is exposed and find their own blowtorch used against them, well, they tend to declare DEFCON 1 and spout off about things like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mecca.

    I haven’t agreed with a lot of Jim Peron’s card-carrying libertarianism, but he hit the bullseye with the following essay, “The New Anti-PC Problem”:

    http://www.liberalvalues.org.nz/index.php?action=view_journal&journal_id=180

    http://www.liberalvalues.org.nz/index.php?action=view_journal&journal_id=181

  144. I am touched and totally impressed by your views and the fact that you resigned over a matter of principle ! The world is a good place because people like you exist.

    God bless you !

  145. Good on you Ben,

    What I like about your stand is that you did this when TVNZ was still trying to justify his behavior, and its is they who have provided a platform for his clandestine racist viewpoint for some time now.

    Its is imports like Paul Henry that take this country back 50 years in race relations. He has been doing this for some time now, unfortunately he gets traction, particularly over any Maori issue, which in itself is disturbing.

    1. Waste of bloody time mate. These creatures thrive on polarisation and discord. Next time it will be some other presenter and some other group, almost always Maori and Pacific islanders, solo mums or the unemployed. Henry is symptomatic of a deeper malaise, one so deep that it blissfully waffles on about equality and other touchy feely stuff whilst nothing really changes.

      The Right continue to roam the world triggering wars for resources such as oil, destabilising huge regions and setting into motion the very forces that bring non-white immigrants to their door and then cry in dismay at the results and this aint gonna change for the foreseeable future.

      Having said that, and despite the fact that little will change, your gesture is appreciated in as much as it mitigates the significant reactionary response and blunts the worst excesses of this group were they let off the leash.

    1. Yeah Ben. Public media needs people of integrity and who understand the meaning of “secular society” so hope to see you on Breakfast soon.

  146. Hi Ben

    This is what someone is suggesting on Henry’s Facebook which incidentally TVNZ has linked to in one of it’s articles (not available when I last checked but called “Groundswell of support for Paul Henry following his resignation”):

    “October the 29th is international run down a rag head day all Indians killed or maimed will be eligible for points 1 point per male 2 points for females and 3 points for kids.”

  147. What a soft country this has become!!! get over yourself ben!! paul henry was fantastic is the mornings to start your day with a laugh. And then you go a have a cry about silly little comment he made! I hope your mr perfect in everything you do ben im sure youve nerver made mistakes before
    LOSER!

  148. What was it the made you uncomfortable about the comments? Im not sure I understand that what a presenter said has any effect on you and the purpose of your job as a gadjet inspecter? Some of the things you think are great I think is stupid but I dont hate you for it and want to stop watching – we should be respectful of of what you think likewise to Paul’s comments too.

  149. Can’t believe this is still happening in your country! Totally ignore those “rascist slurs” as they’re just bullish tactics by a small-minded person. You’re so much admired by your countrymen and for most of us you’ll always be No. ONE.

  150. Hone Harawira is a racist, Maori party is racist, maori tv channel is racist, maori rugby team is racist.. But no lets pick on paul henry.. for christ sake this countrys fucked.

    1. Sounds like you’ve got a chip on your shoulder that’s even bigger than Harawira’s, Dan. You poor bitter hyperbolist, you. *huggles*

    2. Dan

      You wouldn’t know racism if it rose up and bit you on the behind. There’s more to it than bad mouthing.

      Had Mother England been overrun by a foreign culture, I am sure any blue blooded Anglo-Saxon would have stood tall. In fact they did in the Battle of Britain. At least grant the indigenous that recognition although I believe that Maori are rather moderate in their demands.

  151. During high school assembly, our teachers variously described bullies as either cowards, big babies, or having an inferiority complex. I can safely say that Paul Henry fits the Big Baby trope to a T.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *