NZ minister condemns on-air insults
Published 08/10/2010 | 09:04
New Zealand's foreign minister has condemned a local television host's "insulting" comments on air about an Indian official's name which drew a complaint of racism from the New Delhi government.
Giggling uncontrollably, controversial presenter Paul Henry repeatedly mocked the last name of New Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on a breakfast show.
He also called her name "so appropriate because she's Indian".
Ms Dikshit, the equivalent of the city mayor, stepped in to oversee much of the last-minute preparations for the Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital.
New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully said that he wants India to know Henry's comments did not represent the view of most New Zealanders.
India "strongly and unequivocally denounces the racist remarks of the journalist in question", the government said in a formal protest to New Zealand High Commissioner Rupert Holborow.
Henry, regarded as a provocative "shock jock," is already suspended from Television New Zealand for a separate incident of insensitive remarks.
He questioned whether New Zealand-born governor general Sir Anand Satyanand, the son of Fiji Indian migrants, was "even a New Zealander" and whether his successor would "look and sound like a New Zealander".
Henry later apologised on air to Sir Anand, but he was suspended and had his pay docked for two weeks by the state-owned broadcaster.