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Paul Henry resigns amid uproar

Published: 6:00PM Sunday October 10, 2010 Source: ONE News

Controversial Breakfast presenter Paul Henry has resigned amid an uproar over racial comments.

Just three weeks after Henry was named the People's Choice at the Qantas media awards, TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis accepted his resignation at a meeting today.

Earlier in the week Henry had been suspended without pay after asking the Prime Minister whether Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander".

The situation escalated when reports emerged of Henry laughing at the name of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Ellis said the impact on New Zealand's reputation and the relationship between New Zealand and India had reached a crescendo and he commended Henry's decision to resign.

Henry has again apologised for his comments and said it was no longer practical for him to do the job he has "so loved doing". Read Paul Henry's full statement .

"I am astonished and dismayed that my comments have created a diplomatic incident," Henry said. "I walk the finest of lines and accept that I have inadvertently crossed it from time to time."

Henry has had support from thousands of New Zealanders since the scandal broke, and said he is saddened to know that TVNZ has had to suffer the consequences of his actions.

"I do not want to be the lightning rod for racial disharmony in this country," he said.

Ellis has apologised to the Indian community in New Zealand and India, and said he will be apologising to the Governor General in person. Read Rick Ellis' full statement.

"The reality is that his (Henry's) comments have split the community and damaged New Zealand's international relationships," Ellis said.

"Any suggestion of racism, whether intended or not, is unacceptable."

Ellis acknowledged that thousands of New Zealanders will be disappointed at the outcome, but said the issue has generated a divisive debate and there is no going back from that.

Prime Minister John Key told NZPA that Henry's resignation has brought "closure" to a "sad and regrettable" episode.

What do you think about Paul Henry's decision? Have your say on our messageboard

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  • lu said on 2010-10-15 @ 17:59 NZDT: Report abusive post

    No Paul and soon to be no Pippa so I will no longer be watching TVNZ breakfast. This incident should be a classic lesson in how to make a huge mess over nothing! We are becoming such a nanny state we can't even smile without the risk of offending someone. I hope the TV 3 producers get their act together and get breakfast up and running shortly and offer Paul the job!

  • Nzder said on 2010-10-14 @ 18:20 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I am so very sad that this has been forced to happen. No matter what the spin doctors have organised for the official announcements which we hear on the news and read in the papers, it is obvious that a small minority of people with loud voices have pushed out one of the most beloved figures in public television today. As is indicative of nearly all controversial subjects in New Zealand today the minority always get their way. We need only look at the anti smacking law for confirmation of that.

  • tricciboo said on 2010-10-13 @ 21:32 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I'm right behide Mr Paul Henry. Is he being used as bait, perhaps someone wants his position!!!! At least hes straight to the point, no dilly dallying around.

  • Princess Whakaue said on 2010-10-13 @ 10:35 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I cannot believe that TVNZ has accepted Paul Henry's resignation. Come on TV3 get your breakfast programme underway because tvnz may have retained their sponsors, but they have lost this viewer (sorry Pippa). It used to be a delight to wake each morning to the happy (sometimes outrageous) sounds of Paul and Pippa. Paul's leaving is an outrage and I hope he is not lost to NZ but finds his way back onto our screens via TV3. Briong back PAUL

  • 2YT said on 2010-10-13 @ 10:32 NZDT: Report abusive post

    If you dont want to watch breakfast dont,what did Pippa,Coran,Peter,tamati and the rest do to have to sit back and read all these comments about not wanting to watch breakfast you probable dont know this but they are part of the team as well.Paul's gone get over it.