Mark Richardson hits back at people 'generalising' Kiwis as 'racist'

Mark Richardson has taken a swipe at people "generalising" that all New Zealanders are racist during an on-air rant, hinting that the term is being misused. 

The AM Show co-host launched into his tirade following an interview with Chinese-New Zealander Helene Wong regarding racism fuelled by coronavirus fears.

"Bugger it, I'm going to speak about this," Richardson, 48, started.

"I refuse to be bullied by the very woke media that we have at the moment. I'm starting to tire - I've been told I'm racist all the time. And what's more, the more you tell me that, I think the more counterproductive it's becoming. Anyone heard of pushback?

"Alright I get it, I don't get it, because I don't get it, do I? I sort of do - Hone Harawira has the right to call me 'you people' doesn't he? So if I don't get it, what I'm going to tell you is what I actually believe, and I believe the vast majority of New Zealand is good, honest, loving people, and they're the ones I'm going to focus on, champion and believe as representative of my country New Zealand. 

"So now I'm a denier, aren't I, in your minds? Just like the climate debate, just like Trump. If you don't condemn everything Trump does, therefore you support Trump don't you? If you don't say the world is burning because of climate change, then you're a climate denier. But isn't this 'you're either with us or against us' absolute mentality the very thinking that you are campaigning against? 

"Racism exists in this country and it can't be tolerated. Unfortunately, we can hand-wring all we like, but dickheads will still be dickheads. If you can make a difference to one person's prejudice, please do. If I can, then I will. But please in the meantime, can you stop generalising? 

"I don't think I, and most of us in New Zealand, actually deserve it."

Presenter Duncan Garner quickly steered the show back on track, hastily adding "well said, Mark".

It's not the first time Richardson has condemned "uptight" young people for accusing him of racism. In June last year, the 48-year-old spoke of an "incident" at a "young people's radio station" where he referred to his gardener, Carlos.

"They all ducked for cover... 'that's profiling, that's racial profiling'... 'your gardener or your pool guy is called Carlos'," Richardson said.

"I can't call the name of a person who works for me... or is a contractor. I can't even call him by his name for fear of being accused of being racist.

"All the youngsters are so self-monitoring and so uptight about this stuff right now because they live on Facebook and Instagram, where all the police exist."