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.

Join the Conversation

377 Comments

  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. Hopefully more will follow. TVNZ’s response is even more pitiful, thats not the NZ I know or want.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Nicely done, Ben. Breakfast seems like a pretty good gig, it can’t be easy to walk away. Good on you for taking a stand.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Finally, someone stands up to that idiot, what he said today was completely out of line. Well Done Ben!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Well done! We need more people like you to take a stand when people do or say inappropriate things.

  17. Good man. Hopefully this will spell the end of an oaf who thinks offensiveness is entertaining.

  18. 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! 🙂

  19. 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

  20. 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.

    1. Good idea, except you’d probably have to watch the show to know who their major advertisers are. Ewww, no thanks.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. Thank you. It’s about time the other presenters and producers of that show took a similar stand.

  25. 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.

  26. I support your actions. Very good to have someone who has made a stand against this type of nasty behaviour.

  27. Good on you. I wouldn’t want my name anywhere a show that endorses racist views, time and time again.

  28. 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.

  29. Well done, Ben. It would be lovely if more Breakfast contributors did the same thing, but I’m not holding my breath.

  30. Good on you Ben. Paul ‘s tirades have become tiresome.
    You will be sorely missed.
    Good man for speaking your truth.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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,

  34. I agree with Paul Henry. I’m sure he’s pissing himself with laughter right now actually

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.)

  38. 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.

  39. Thank you for your stand. As far as I’m concerned, you’re the one saying the things real Kiwis want to say.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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”….

  43. 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?

  44. Paul henry won’t get axed. Sainsbury on the other hand.. well he can’t interview for shit

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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!

  48. “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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. Why don’t you write a book about your experiences and then go and cry about it to chris carter?

  52. 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

  53. Ben Ben Ben Bennnn come on are we all that precious we cant even make an aside.. lighten up mate.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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 ?

  57. 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…

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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!!!

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

    — From a former Breakfast viewer

  71. 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.

  72. 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 🙂

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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?

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

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

  79. 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.

  80. 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

  81. 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.

  82. 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.)

    2. Yeah, because if the governor-general job was important, or like, hard, we’d need a white dude to do it.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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!

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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).

  90. 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 🙂

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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