23 Mar 2011

TVNZ response over Henry 'slow but sufficient'

7:53 pm on 23 March 2011

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled that TVNZ's response over former host Paul Henry's comments about the Governor General were slow - but ultimately sufficient.

The authority has been looking at complaints that the state broadcaster responded insufficiently after the former Breakfast co-host asked Prime Minister John Key whether the next governor-general would look and sound like a New Zealander.

The Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, was born in Auckland and is of Fijian-Indian heritage.

Television New Zealand has agreed that the comments breached the broadcasting standards relating to good taste and decency, fairness, and discrimination and denigration.

The authority says it considered that Henry's comments amounted to a serious breach of broadcasting standards.

It says it was unacceptable that TVNZ did not respond on the day of the interview with Mr Key and considered a subsequent apology on television by Henry lacked substance and sincerity.

Henry was given a two-week suspension without pay for his comments about Sir Anand.

He resigned last year after he sparked a diplomatic incident by ridiculing the name of Delhi's Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, at the time of the Commonwealth Games.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority is finalising another decision regarding on-air comments made by Henry regarding Ms Dikshit.