Henry’s back

November 2nd, 2013 at 5:29 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Million-dollar-earning TV broadcaster Paul Henry will next year return to our screens to wrap up the day’s events and replace the late-night news bulletin on TV3.

Mediaworks confirmed The Paul Henry Show will be screened at 10.30pm in 2014.

It will replace 3 News: Nightline. however, the brand will “sit in reserve for future years”.

“Nightline has been a great programme for us over many years and produced some of our best broadcasters, but the landscape is due for change and Paul Henry will lead that change in later evening viewing,” Mark Jennings, director of news and current affairs, said.

I’ll definitely be setting the My Sky to record that.

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Who might replace Tamihere?

October 11th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald Diary notes:

Last week’s radio survey results yielded little groundbreaking news with both networks spinning their own positive picture about their commercial and talkback stations.

MediaWorks announced RadioLive increased its listeners by 14 per cent nationwide and golden boy Duncan Garner had a 141 per cent increase on his drive show.

That’s a huge coup. However, Willie Jackson and John Tamihere, whose show precedes Garner’s, made few gains.

Sources in radio circles say their afternoon talkback show is likely to be rejigged now Tamihere is plotting a political comeback.

RadioLive bosses told The Diary there are no immediate changes afoot, but “it’s no secret John has never got politics out of his system and who knows what could happen down the track”.

So, who could fill the void alongside Willie? Here are our picks:

1. Cameron Slater – He’s polarising and partisan, but can cross-pollinate via his widely viewed website.

2. Linda Clark – Her school ma’am whip-cracking is TV gold, but she’s unlikely to forgo Chapman Tripp responsibilities.

3. Paul Henry – If he actually liked talkback he’d be a welcome return. He’s in the MediaWorks stable and his TV show is yet to have a start date, so maybe he can be persuaded.

4. Mark Sainsbury – He wants a job in media and is already a contributor to the station.

5. Grant Dalton – Does he have a job? He’s certainly got plenty of opinions, mostly sporting, unfortunately.

6. Anna Guy – She’s desperate to be a media star, but with a fifth kid on the way and limited views beyond motherhood and Feilding farming she’s an unlikely contender.

7. Rachel Hunter – She’s a bona fide media star with a big TV following. But can she make the transition to radio?

 Cameron Slater and Paul Henry would be a great combination. They’d also keep the BSA in full-time employment :-)

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Paul Henry show axed in Australia

November 12th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald report:

Controversial broadcaster Paul Henry may be on his way back to New Zealand after having his Australian breakfast show axed by network bosses.

Australian network Ten released a statement saying Breakfast, which is fronted by Henry and journalist Kathryn Robinson, will cease production on November 30.

The show has lagged behind its rivals in the ratings since debuting on Ten in February.

It can be tough to break into a new market in a new country. Piers Morgan on CNN is finding it the same. Not suggesting the two gentleman are the same.

He has been tipped to take over from Mark Sainsbury once Close Up is axed at the end of the year, along with his former TVNZ Breakfast co-presenter Pippa Wetzell.

It will be very interesting to see if they do put him into the 7 pm slot. It will need a somewhat different style to Breakfast TV, but if he can pull it off the potential audience share he can gain is significant.

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Will Paul Henry return?

October 2nd, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Close Up’s replacement will be a magazine show with two presenters – and Pippa Wetzell and Paul Henry are understood to be the hot favourites.

A confidential brief circulating at TVNZ says the focus will be on the “talking point of the day” and a mixture of news and entertainment.

But a journalism commentator said it would be “Breakfast at dinner-time” and showed the broadcaster’s lack of commitment to strong current affairs.

It is no secret within TVNZ that the network has been courting Wetzell and that it wants to give her a prominent role next year.

It is understood she has had meetings with TVNZ executives.

I think Paul Henry could do well in the role, so long as he doesn’t do any brain farts. Sure, on Breakfast he is the rogue, but it is worth considering that he can actually do decent interviews. Also he is majorly interested in politics, so if he is the host the focus might be more on “hard news” than “light news”.

The new format is understood to be much like The Project, which airs on Australia’s Channel 10 and is hosted by comedians presenting news stories.

Dagan was behind the show before he moved to TVNZ.

“It’s the news – but not as you know it,” Channel 10 says in a description of the show on its website.

“Guaranteeing no miracle diets, no stories that ‘no parent can afford to miss’, and virtually no dodgy plumbers, The Project is a TV show joining in the conversations going on in living rooms around the country.”

The Project is on each weekday at 6pm and its three hosts “dissect, digest and reconstitute each day’s news” in a style “not afraid to be serious, but not a satirical newscast,” Channel 10 says.

I actually predicted on radio that the new format would be a panel, dissecting the day’s news. The key would be who is on the panel.

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A thought

October 13th, 2010 at 9:32 pm by David Farrar

It would have been very amusing to see Paul Henry on Breakfast TV, discussing the Te Papa “ban” on pregnant and menstruating women. I suspect he would have exploded with indignation, and with Pippa being pregnant also, could have been superb viewing.

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Analysing the Henry decision

October 11th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Why did he go and what does it mean for TVNZ and Henry?

Why did he go?

What changed, so that it went from a suspension offence to resignation. I think there were four factors.

  1. The Dikshit name mockery by itself would have been no big thing. Other NZ broadcasters have done exactly the same thing as Paul Henry did, and it was reported that in India her name has been made fun of for many years by some. But the problem for Henry was it occuring just before his awful comments on Sir Anand not being a real NZers. This made it look like Henry was prejudiced against Indians, rather than just making fun of her name.
  2. The official complaint from the Indian Government. While it is preposterous that they turned it official, the reality is they did. Suddenly this makes the comments a major liability.
  3. A growing realisation that Henry’s brand has been so damaged by this, that he would never be able to restore his reputation with many NZers.
  4. Perhaps most importantly the “scandal” effectively destroyed his chances of ever grabbing the coveted Close Up hosting spot. It is no secret he had wanted this for many years. With that now ruled out, he had no future in TVNZ except to stay where he is.

So what does it mean for TVNZ:

  1. In the short term they get out of the political bonfire that was threatening to burn them
  2. But also in the short term they face a backlash from the many Paul Henry supporters (up to 70,000 now on Facebook). And do not under estimate how many people watched Breakfast only because of him. I was certainly one of them. Don’t get me wrong – other presenters do a competent job, but Paul makes you laugh and is so entertaining that you really enjoyed tuning in.
  3. As I understand it Breakfast has never been highly profitable. It is possible Breakfast could become a loss leader, and in these tight times may be an expense TVNZ can not afford.

And where now for Paul Henry:

  1. If I was TV3 I’d be picking up the phone to Paul. However I wouldn’t necessarily stick him on at Breakfast – that time slot is never highly profitable. Maybe give him the 5.30 pm slot that TVNZ were looking to develop for him.
  2. A return to radio is possible. That was where he started. However I have to say that I think seeing Paul’s antics is a big part of his appeal, and radio may lessen that.
  3. Paul could always become a blogger :-)
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Paul Henry resigns

October 10th, 2010 at 7:15 pm by David Farrar

Paul Henry has offered his resignation from TVNZ and the CEO has accepted it.

Will he move to 3? Or radio? And who will replace him?

UPDATE: 75 comments in the hour from when I blogged this (which was while waiting for my luggage at the airport) and making it into my hotel room. I think that must be a record.

UPDATE2: You can vote in my blog poll in the left hand sidebar as to whether or not you think TVNZ did the right thing by accepting Paul Henry’s resignation

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The appropriate response

October 5th, 2010 at 9:04 am by David Farrar

UPDATE 1225: TVNZ have taken my advice and suspended Paul Henry without pay until 18 October. Okay, may not be on my advice, but I do note that most people were calling for either just a better apology or outright sacking. As far as I know few people advocated suspension as the appropriate response.

A sacking would make Paul a martyr. The suspension both is humiliating for him, but also sets a very clear boundary. If he does similar in the future, then clearly the response needed from TVNZ will be stronger than suspension.

ORIGINAL: I’ve been thinking about what would be the appropriate response from TVNZ in relation to Paul Henry’s comments yesterdays. A “sorry if you were offended” apology does not come close. However I’m not in the camp demanding he must be sacked, and never work in broadcasting again. I do respect greatly the decision of Ben Gracewood to quit his beloved spot on Breakfast reviewing gadgets – a very principled gutsy call which will have far more impact on TVNZ than the few hundred people who have joined the anti Paul Henry facebook group (his pro one has 35,000).

What TVNZ should do, is the same as radio stations do when a “shock jock” steps over the line. They should suspend Paul Henry from on air duties. That sends out a very clear message about what is acceptable, without being commercially reckless. It may also serve as a learning exercise about boundaries.

I enjoy Paul Henry’s humour greatly, and think he is remarkably talented broadcaster. However what he did yesterday was not humouous. It was simply ugly. And I don’t think TVNZ (or Paul) have realised how different this is to other incidents.

If humour is sincere, you can get away with a lot. For example when friends ring me up and tell me awful Jewish jokes, I don’t mind a bit – because I know it is 100% humour and they don’t really have an anti-semitic bone in their body. If however some neo-nazi skin-head was telling the joke, it would be creepy as genuine dislike or contempt or even hatred is what motivates them.

And that is the challenge with watching Paul Henry in future. He no longer will be that funny offensive guy Paul Henry. He will be that guy who looks down on people with a different skin colour, and you will wonder if what motivates his humour is racism?

There’s a fair bit I don’t agree with Joris de Bres on, but his quotes in the Herald are spot on:

Mr de Bres said Henry often said things to challenge or shock people “but this one was off the planet”.

“What he was saying was that if you were an Indian New Zealander and you were born here, you went to school here, you went to university here, you practised law here, you became a judge, you became an ombudsman and you became a Governor-General, that a key presenter on national television still thinks you don’t look like or sound like a New Zealander.”

Mr de Bres said Sir Anand probably knew Henry well enough to ignore his comment, “but I know that it does have an impact on other Indians and other New Zealanders”.

This is the truly sad thing. We should celebrate Sir Anand’s achievements. He was born in New Zealand to immigrants from Fiji. He succeeded at school, at university, was a successful lawyer, became a Judge and then a hugely respected Ombudsman. Finally he is appointed Governor-General. But despite all of that, some people think he is still not a real New Zealander. Now think about the awful message that gives to young New Zealanders who have immigrant parents. It is that no matter how well you achieve, there are some New Zealanders that will think you are not a real Kiwi because of your skin colour.

This is not about offending a singer from the UK. This is about a statement that really will affect  lot of Kiwis. This is not an issue of freedom of speech – because that is not the same as freedom from consequences.

TVNZ issued a separate statement defending Henry – a release that Mr de Bres said was more “discouraging” than Henry’s original one.

Issued by spokeswoman Andi Brotherston, it said: “The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud.”

I agree that the statement in defence was disgraceful. TVNZ badly miscalculated. This is very different to Paul’s other complaints.

A stronger response is needed than an apology. I think an on-air suspension would be the appropriate response. Anything less, and TVNZ looks like it condones racism. Because this is not just about Paul Henry, but also about TVNZ’s initial response defending him as saying he is prepared to say out loud what we think quietly.

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Cringeworthy

October 4th, 2010 at 3:25 pm by David Farrar

I cringed when Paul Henry asked the PM this morning whether in appointing a Governor-General would “choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time?”.

I have a lot of time for Paul’s humour, even his offensive humour, because humour is often offensive.

But this was not a joke, this was not even comparable to Paul Homes with his “cheeky darkie” comment, which was meant to be a parody.

This was a blatant statement that NZ born Sir Anand does not look and sound like a New Zealander because his parents are Fijian Indians.

What Paul really meant is that he does not sound like a white or British New Zealander.

If TVNZ don’t take firm action on this one, they will find themselves in a very umcomfortable position. They should also arrange for an apology to the Governor-General. He was born in New Zealander, and is every but as much a New Zealander as Paul Henry.

UPDATE: Paul Henry has apologised:

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.

Anyone who knows anything about me will know I am a royalist, a constant defender of the monarchy and the role the Governor General plays in our society.

If my comments have personally offended Sir Anand, I regret it deeply.

I am sure it will still be the lead item on the news tonight, and in newspapers tomorrow.

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They could make this a permament headline

October 3rd, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The HoS headlne:

Paul Henry talks his way into trouble

The issue is:

TVNZ is investigating four complaints after its controversial Breakfast frontman repeatedly mispronounced the name of Delhi’s Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. Newsreader Peter Williams interjected, saying her name was pronounced “Dixit”. But Henry was undeterred and continued, with rollicking laughter.

Paul Henry is being unfairly picked on here. I’d say every radio channel in New Zealand has also done the same thing – with said laughter also.

New Zealand Indian Central Association president Paul Singh Bains said it was a cheap shot. “It wasn’t in good taste, making that kind of comment,” he said. “Sometimes he makes lighthearted comments but when you do it at the expense of other nations it’s not so respectful. The media should be cautious when making cheap shots.”

Oh don’t be so precious. It certainly is a cheap shot, but not at the expense of a nation.

If a New Zealand Minister had a surname, which had s spelling that resembled a rude word in another language, we would not feel insulted as a nation. We’d probably find it hilarious also.

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Paul Henry uncut

September 20th, 2010 at 7:45 pm by David Farrar

Must see video of Paul Henry accepting his People’s Choice Award at the Qantas Awards. He reads out a letter from one of his “fans”. Classic. Includes more swearing that a Southpark video include the c word.

Hat Tip: NBR

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Paul Henry fan site

September 2nd, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Believe it or not, a fan has set up a website dedicated to Paul Henry. Has some of his finest (or worst) moments.

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BSA decisions

December 27th, 2009 at 11:29 am by David Farrar

Fun summer reading can be decisions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Some recent decisions:

  1. They reject four complaints against TV3 for Ali Ikram’s satirical piece of Maori TV getting the Rugby World Cup rights. It wasn’t that funny a piece of satire, but no way should it be illegal!
  2. They also turn down two complaints against TVNZ and Paul Henry over his comments re the Maori flag.
  3. ACT member Peter Taskhoff is sucessful against TVNZ for a story at an arms show than unfairly portrayed him in a negative light.
  4. Kerry Bolton wins against Radio NZ for Chris Laidlaw’s programme which made holocaust denying accusations against him withotu verifying them.
  5. Henk van Helmond loses against TV3 for door stopping him at is home in relation to threats about Sue Bradford.
  6. A complaint against TV3 for coverage of the Boobs on Bikes parade was not upheld.
  7. A complaint fron a Patty Towl against Solid Gold FM for the joke that Ellen DeGeneres is the second most powerful lesbian on the planet, and Chris Carter being the first – was not upheld.
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SST on Paul Henry

August 30th, 2009 at 9:36 am by David Farrar

Am amusing profile of Paul Henry in the SST. The part that made me laugh the most was this:

The morning we visit the studio, he uses the expression “donkey deep” on air. A viewer wonders about the etymology. Maybe, muses Henry, it is derived from the days when donkeys pulled carts through muddy roads. “Did you just make that up?” asks co-host Alison Mau. “Because it’s brilliant.”

Unfortunately for Mau, during the break, Henry is handed an actual definition from the urban dictionary. He is gleeful, delighted, like a small boy who has just discovered the word “poo”. He faces the camera and tells his audience the expression refers to (drum roll) a donkey’s HUGE member.

Later, seconds before Paula Ryan goes live to tell viewers what not to wear while holidaying in Muslim countries, Henry leans across to the fashion doyenne: “Did you know that? About a donkey’s cock?”

Heh classic. Urban Dictionary does indeed say:

New Zealand slang for being heavily involved, usually in a contentious matter. May be a reference to either a stinking pile of donkey shit or a reference to the length of a donkey’s huge cock.

I did not realise it was a unique NZ saying.

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DPF on Breakfast TV

July 23rd, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I was on Breakfast TV this morning talking about the issues I (and others) might face around potential contempt of court and the Weatherston case. I’m glad I got invited on, because I thought it unfortunate the segment on One News last night didn’t mention that I had taken immediate action to remove any problematic content the moment concerns came to my attention. I don’t want to be seen as someone saying that laws don’t apply to the Internet. They obviously do. There are of course significant issues around the practicality of certain laws, but that is an issue for the future – and the Law Commission has a discussion paper out on related issues such as suppression orders and the Internet.

The Breakfast interview I thought covered the issues quite well. You can view it here. Also a story based on it here.

I was highly amused to get a call from friends a bit later in the programme, telling me that my name came up during discussions on what gift Paul Henry should take with him to New York to give to Helen Clark. They are running a poll on it.

You can view it yourself at around 1:15 through this video. A transcript:

PAUL (reading an e-mail): Paul Henry, can you take Phil Goff with you as a gift to Helen Clark and just sit Phil Goff on the edge of the table there.

PAUL: Actually David Farrar would be a nice table weight. He’s such a sweet man isn’t he. He’s the blogger we just had in.

ALI: He’s somebody you just want to have sitting on your desk constantly so you can just ask him for an opinion on stuff.

PAUL: I’ve got David Farrar in a little box out the back. Let’s open the lid and ask him a question.

PAUL: He just seems very cuddly doesn’t he. He’s just a nice … I don’t know if I should be saying that about another man. Possibly not actually.

ALI: It’s too late now

I was very amused. I would have preferred it was Ali calling me sweet and cuddly but hey you take compliments from anyone :-)

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Henry and Laws

July 12th, 2009 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

The HoS looks at all the complaints against Paul Henry and Michael Laws:

They’re among our most controversial presenters, but Paul Henry and Michael Laws remain unrepentant about their on-air behaviour.

I suspect they actually get paid bonuses for every complaint they attract :-)

Laws said the decision was an example of the authority stifling freedom of speech. He said defamation laws offered safeguard enough and the authority was wrong to apply news reporting standards to talkback.

“The BSA should be disbanded. There is no need for it.

“My job’s not to offer balance, it’s to offer strong opinion. I never, ever go too far. I’m not a namby-pamby left-wing liberal commie journalist.”

As a commenter said, there are some days you can really like Michael :-)

Henry has triggered a catalogue of complaints since the start of 2008.

They include accusations of bias in an interview with John Key, describing people with obsessive compulsive disorder as “crazy freaks” and a suggestion that obese children be taken away from their parents and put in car compactors.

None were upheld.

The suggestion that obese children be put in car compactors is so Henry.

Pippa Wetzell was responsible for the only complaint against Breakfast upheld by the authority for an interview this year with Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust found to have breached the standard of balance.

Now that is funny. Henry gets a dozen complaints – none of which is upheld, while poor Pippa actually gets her complaint upheld.

Henry didn’t know why complaints against him were on the up but said it didn’t bother him. “I think it’s an indication that I say what I think and in television that is not overly common.” He thought there were “a lot of people that don’t have much of a sense of humour” and “a large number of people who have nothing better to do than complain”.

A lot of complaints come from the same people. I reckon they should look at limiting the number of complaints one individual can make!

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TVNZ upholds moustache complaints against Henry

May 5th, 2009 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

TVNZ has upheld viewer complaints against Breakfast host Paul Henry after he commented that a female guest had a moustache.

I’d take that more seriously if it wasn’t the same TVNZ whose staff very quickly got the comments out on You Tube, so 100,000 extra people could see them.

Henry had been spoken to and told on-air editorial decisions were not his to make and that he must adhere to the executive producer’s decisions.

That must be the “I’ve got a voice in my ear telling me not to read them out”!

Oh dear – as I type this he may have just done it again – but accidentially. They had a reporter in a lawyer’s office – in the photocopier room and they were talking about if any items of clothing had even been found in there. Henry then said he is sure all sorts of shenigans happen in there and that if you lift up the photocopier lid, there is probably a crack on the glass.

It took only a second for the possible second meaning of this to strike Henry, but his reaction was nothing compared to Ali Mau who absolutely lost it on screen.

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Edwards on Henry

April 9th, 2009 at 4:16 pm by David Farrar

Brian Edwards joins the blogosphere and asks what to do with Paul Henry. He looks at how Paul is loved and loathed, and I really like his conclusion:

Who’s right – his critics or his defenders? Both. Henry is an obnoxious prat.  His ego is out of control and, as a broadcaster, so is he. He has done  more than enough to deserve the boot.

BUT he is also one of the most intelligent, most incisive, most accomplished, most polished, and most entertaining broadcasters this country has ever seen.

Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.

Edwards is right. Paul Henry is offensive and at time obnoxious with an ego that could fuel a fleet. But he is also a genius broadcaster.

You have to accept both sides of Henry, to reconcile how you react to him.

On the issue of Stephanie Mills, there can be no doubt Henry behaved appallingly towards an invited guest. If you knew Mills personally, you would especially be outraged by what Henry did (interestingly Mills herself very sensibly did not lash out, but said it is about her issues, not her or Henry).

But while intellectually I know Henry was a brattish prat twoards Mills, I also had tears of laughter as I watched the clip of the show. When you don’t know the target personally, offensive humour can still be very very funny. And for me it wasn’t so much about Mills, but about the train wreck it caused as Henry ignored Ali and his producer, and them seems bemused by the hate mail, and even then his “Oh go from a group” reotort. It was like an episode of Borat.

I’d been having trouble reconciling my intellectual dislike of what Henry did, with my instictive hilarity at the situation. You feel guilty for laughing so loud.

But Edwards get it right, as I said. Henry is both an obnoxous prat and a great broadcaster. Don’t pretend he can be one without the other.

So what does Brian Edwards propose be done:

So what should be done with Paul? Well firstly he should be fronting Close Up. Mark Sainsbury may be a nicer person, but he isn’t a patch on Henry as a broadcaster. He stumbles his way through the programme, is often barely articulate and his interviews are a shambles. But he’s responsible and safe and Henry isn’t.

So here’s my solution.  Mark goes back to his previous job as a political editor. He was extremely good at that. Paul takes over Close Up where he is likely to beat the pants off the much nicer John Campbell. But there’s a proviso. Henry’s contract includes a ‘penny in the jar’ clause. Every time he breaches the Broadcasting Act’s standards of balance, fairness, decency or good taste, $10,000 is deducted from his salaryand donated to the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards. Should work.

Heh, I quite like that idea.

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Henry vs McCully

April 2nd, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

This is very funny – Paul Henry taking the mickey out of Murray McCully.

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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Clark distances herself from Williams

April 21st, 2008 at 7:38 am by David Farrar

Helen Clark has distanced herself from Mike Williams and basically called him a liar for his performance on Agenda, yet says he will remain President as the Party conference elects him and has confidence in him.

Some quotes from Clark on Breakfast on TV One:

Clark: “I certainly can’t understand why he made the comment on Agenda yesterday Paul. I watched it with some disbelief because of course after I spoke to you last Monday I did when I got to Wellington speak to Mr Williams and established the facts of the matter both from him and in the course of the day and that led me to go to my press conference and say there had clearly been a misjudgement. That was only compounded by what was said yesterday.”

Henry: Did he tell you the truth, because it appears he has not been telling us the truth.

Clark: He told me the truth, and that’s why when the tape was run on TV last night I knew that was what I had been told six and a half days before. Really what possessed him on Agenda I do not know, I can only put it down to confusion.

Clark has all but called Williams a liar with her comments that she has no idea what possessed him to deny what happened on Agenda, and watched it with disbelief.

Clark generously puts it down to confusion but she knows he was not confused on Agenda. He didn’t like the fact he had been reprimanded and tried to rewrite history on the basis no-one could prove otherwise. He claimed it was all a media beat-up and grossly misrepresented what the delegate said, and what he said.

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Headline of the Week

April 10th, 2008 at 11:45 am by David Farrar

Tumeke: “Liz gets fucked by Paul live on breakfast”

When I saw the headline in my RSS feed, my first thought was what about Diane. Then I realised that this was not some new ratings stunt from TVNZ, but a commentary on the performance of NZUSA co President Liz Hawes.

I didn’t see it myself, and no video online yet, so can’t comment on how fair or otherwise Bomber’s commentary is.

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