By Jerram Watts
Disgraced Breakfast host Paul Henry has resigned from TVNZ, saying it is time for his actions to speak louder than his words.
Henry was halfway through a two-week suspension for racial slurs against Commonwealth Games organiser Sheila Dikshit and Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand before offering his resignation this evening.
In a statement released this evening Henry said it is no longer practical for him to do the job he was employed to do.
“It is also difficult for TVNZ to get on with the business of being a first-class broadcaster as long as I remain.
“I have apologised twice, and have meant every word. I again apologise to all those who were genuinely hurt by what I said.”
However, Henry remains defiant and apparently perplexed his remarks caused such a stir.
“I am astonished and dismayed that my comments have created a diplomatic incident. My style is conversational and of course unscripted. I walk the finest of lines and accept that I have inadvertently crossed it from time to time.”
Henry questioned the Prime Minister as to whether Sir Anand looks or sounds like a New Zealand, and howled with laughter when announcing the name of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s name as “Dick Shit” when he was told it was pronounced “Dixit”.
TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis had said he would take the weekend to decide Henry's future with the state broadcaster.
Prime Minister John Key says Mr Henry's resignation brings closure to the saga.
"This episode has been sad and regrettable," he said through a spokesperson. "Mr Henry's resignation brings closure to the matter and we should now put it behind us."
TVNZ had received more than 700 complaints about the Sir Anand comments and 3news.co.nz was inundated with comments both supporting Henry and criticising him.
Mr Ellis released his own statement this evening, again apologising to the Governor General and the Indian community.
“Paul has many loyal supporters and there will be those who question whether his resignation was the right outcome,” he says.
“I believe Paul has done the right thing. The reality is that his comments have split the community and damaged New Zealand’s international relationships, and there is no going back from that.
“I very much hope that Paul’s resignation will demonstrate his profound regret and offer an opportunity for healing.”
source: newshub archive