How come John Key called Paul Henry’s racist comments completely unacceptable and Henry was forced to resign but Maurice Williamson’s racism is defended as ‘humour’ by Key and no punishment results? A question you might like to put to the PM. Well, if you try to ask it on Newstalk ZB they’ll let the PM’s staff censor you.
That’s what happened to William Findlay when he called in to Key’s weekly cuddle interview on Newstalk ZB:
Mr Findlay wanted to challenge the “inconsistency” between Mr Key’s criticism of TVNZ host Paul Henry’s lampooning of Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and his response to Muslim jokes made at a building industry dinner by Mr Williamson.
Mr Findlay said that several minutes after the producer cleared him to go on air, the woman from Mr Key’s office came on the line and said the issue was being discussed with the Muslim community, and he could not speak to Mr Key.
“I said, `So I’m not going to get to ask the question?’ and she said, `No, that’s all we have to say.”‘
The producer then came back on the line and said there was “nothing she could do”.
Newstalk ZB’s general manager of talk programming, Dallas Gurney, said: “It’s not common practice for the PM’s staff to speak to callers. However, in this instance, there was a genuine belief by the producer that they were helping to answer a listener’s question … I can give an assurance that the prime minister takes all calls on a wide range of issues.”
Yeah, he answers questions ranging all the way from what it’s like to play with spiders to what it’s like to play the clown on David Letterman. But he refuses to answer real questions.
It’s bad enough that Key won’t appear on Morning Report, the country’s premier interview programme. Now even the soft interviews he takes are being censored by his staff. It’s simply not acceptable.
The only people we can turn to are the media put those questions to Key. Those journos that Key will still talk to need to stand up for the public’s rights.
And we need to stand up. Everywhere Key goes, he needs to be told, loudly, that Kiwis are unhappy with him – as most recently happened in Mana on Tuesday.