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Paul Henry apologises to Governor-General

Published: 3:54PM Monday October 04, 2010 Source: ONE News

  • Anand Satyanand (Source: ONE News)
    Source: ONE News

Paul Henry has apologised to the Governor-General over comments he made on TVNZ's Breakfast this morning.

In an interview with Prime Minister John Key today, Henry asked if Governor-General Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander".

Referring to the next Governor-General to be chosen when Sir Anand's 's five year term ends this year, Henry said: "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"

Sir Anand, New Zealand's first Governor-General of Indian and Pacific descent, was born and brought up in Auckland. His grandparents were born in India and had migrated to Fiji, from where his parents later moved to New Zealand.

Henry said in a statement this afternoon: "I sincerely apologise to the Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, for any offence I may have caused.

"I am aware that Sir Anand has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand."

Henry said anyone who knows him would know that he was a royalist and believed in the role the Governor-General plays in New Zealand society.

He added: "If my comments have personally offended Sir Anand, I regret it deeply."

Key said at a media briefing this afternoon: "Anand Satyanand is not only a New Zealander, he is a very fine New Zealander."

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the implication of Henry's comments seemed to be that "anyone of Indian or Asian descent cannot be a New Zealander and should not hold public office unless they look or speak like one".