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Michael Lhaws: pathetic little attention-seeker

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, October 10th, 2010 - 52 comments
Categories: Media, racism - Tags:

Michael Lhaws, no longer mayor of Whanganui and only fourth highest ranked councilor, is going to find life harder now he has lost his biggest pulpit. The man’s been a insecure little attention-seeker his whole life and, a lot like Paul Henry, he gets that attention by voicing his prejudices. So, the revelation of his insults against the Governor-General are hardly surprising.

Speaking on Monday over the Henry issue Lhaws said:

“He is a very large, fat man. I don’t know why but just on an Indian it seems slightly incongruous. I mean, we don’t all expect Indians to be begging on the streets of New Delhi, but it’s like Anand discovered the buffet table at, like, 20 and he’s never really left it.”

It’s not the out and out racism of Henry’s comments but it’s a dog-whistle to New Zealand’s all-too-large population of bigots and rednecks nonetheless. This isn’t simply an, uncalled for, attack on Satyanand’s size; you wouldn’t find Lhaws ranting about Gerry Brownlee’s far greater girth. By linking Satyanand’s size to his ethnicity, Lhaws is saying that Indians are naturally skinny because they’re poor (ie morally flawed in the Rightwinger’s mind) and the only way Indians get to be overweight is by being parasites on the ‘white man’ (which is what the reference to the buffet table implies).

Naturally, RadioLive has defended their ratings monkey, just at TVNZ has. The leadership culture within each of those organisations is devoid of any notion that they would want to deliver a high-quality, informative service to the public. They just want ratings. As with the Henry debacle, the ratings monkey deserves to be put down but the real blame, and the real punishment, should go to the organisations’ leadership – the organ grinders who make the monkeys dance.

In Lhaw’s case, I doubt this pathetic shock-jock stuff is working anymore. It says something about how irrelevant Lhaws has become that no-one noticed his comments at the time. It took the Herald on Sunday to finally pick up on what he said.

If a weird little freak makes racist remarks in an attempt to get attention and no-one hears, does he really make a sound?

52 comments on “Michael Lhaws: pathetic little attention-seeker ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    As all ways, the dogs vomit attracts the other mongrels who cant wait to gobble it up

  2. The Voice of Reason 2

    It tells you a lot about the calibre of the man that he thinks jumping on a racist bandwagon is a winner. Happily, the voters of Whanganui see it differently. Laws’ poll result is a shocker, fifth place for himself (4th after Annette Main drops off the list by becoming mayor) and only one other Michael First supporter elected. He has gone from a position of absolute dominance to that of a sad, lonely ranter. And it’s entirely his own fault. His bullying of his own team has led to all the former Vision group refusing to have a bar of him now and many of his former councillors giving up local politics having been brutalised by the experience.

    While he will remain a pain in the council chamber and no doubt will continue to spout racist, bigoted tosh on the radio, politically, he’s dog tucker now. Yesterday’s man. Mind you, I still have hope he’ll stand in the Whanganui electorate next General Election and split the right vote so Labour get up. That would be even sweeter.

    Righto, off to the river city for lunch. I expect to find the sun out, the river sparkling and the sweet tang of freedom in the air. It’ll be like Paris after the liberation ; )

  3. hateatea 3

    People such as Laws and Henry are the reason why I don’t listen to commercial radio and prefer Māori Television. I wish more people would resist the urge to listen and watch but I suppose it is akin to watching for the inevitable ‘train wreck’.

    • rosy 3.1

      yes, but pity I can’t speak Maori and have to get my news and current events elsewhere as well. I don’t care much what Laws says on talkback radio, but I care very much what is said on our state-funded television and radio. There are bigotted people everywhere, but giving them an airing in the ‘news’ category on state TV is not a good use of state resources (and no, the solution is not to privatise TVNZ).

  4. jbanks 4

    Naturally, RadioLive has defended their ratings monkey, just at TVNZ has.

    Shock jocks pay the bills. People like it, otherwise they wouldn’t tune in.

    TVNZ has no responsibility to whining lefties. Get over it.

    • Marty G 4.1

      hey, those ‘whining lefties’ sure kicked your namesake’s arse, eh, jbanks?

      This is about basic standards. Lhaws and Henry can be racists if they want but should news organisations be employing racists just to get ratings? If all news is about is ratings, not delivering an informative service, they should have the weather chick go topless.

      But don’t we want something more of news orgs than mere sensationalism?

      • jbanks 4.1.1

        I’m not defending the comments.

        I’m just pointing out the BSA has no real power over TVNZ. TVNZ can keep on whoever they like as long as the ratings justify it.

        • Marty G 4.1.1.1

          the question is not whether they can, it’s whether they should.

          and you are defending the comments because you characterised the people who are outraged by them as “whining lefties”.

          It’s like me calling you a ‘typical rightwing closeted racist’ for trying to minimise and justify Henry’s comments at every turn.

          • jbanks 4.1.1.1.1

            the question is not whether they can, it’s whether they should

            What does it matter what people think they should be doing? TVNZ can do what THEY want to.

            P.S You’re whining lefties because you think you can control what TVNZ does when the BSA can’t even do that.

            • hateatea 4.1.1.1.1.1

              It <b<matters a lot. Complacency because you are not the ‘picked on’ class of society is what enables bigotry to flourish and, heaven forbid, become the accepted norm.

              All intelligent people should expect the state owned broadcaster to lead by good example, in fact, I thought the Charter laid that expectation on them. It appears I was too optimistic to hope that ethics in journalism and performance could be put before the commercial imperative that the Shareholder representing me has placed upon the board.

              As for Mr Law’s employers – what are they thinking continuing to employ him. He has embarrassed them more than once. Still jbanks, it gives you something to listen to when you are self amusing

              • jbanks

                I know what we SHOULD expect blah blah blah. But at the end of the day if TVNZ has ratings then this is their mandate to keep the controversial broadcasters, and there is nothing a minority on the left can do about it. Until a lot of people have had enough (ie ratings drop away) then all your finger pointing (like the BSA) is a waste of time.

                • lprent

                  You are incorrect (you really should think things through).

                  Ratings are simply a way of measuring attractiveness of a slot to advertising and therefore how much the station can charge for advertising in that slot.

                  Personally I intend to target advertisers to the Breakfast show and associate them supporting a bigot, while also drawing out all of the things that the advertiser doesn’t want people to know about their company. I’ll encourage other people to do the same with as much cross-linking as possible.

                  This will inevitably cause a reduction in the value of advertising in that slot (how much remains to be seen). They will demand a lower rate as compensation. That reduces the value of the slot to the station.

                  The value of the Breakfast show to TVNZ is in what advertising revenue it brings in. That is an asset that it is possible to devalue…

                  The reason that this is worthwhile for me to proceed with is because Henry is on the only TV morning news and current affairs show on a state TV station – ie that is owned in part by me. I don’t want to own part of this bigot on breakfast. If he was on TV3 or Radio Live then I wouldn’t bother going to these lengths.

                  • jbanks

                    ah ha ha what an amorous idealist.

                    You and your few hardcore mates “cross-link” as much as you like (But be careful it could be bad. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.)

                    Advertisers have already stated that they aren’t going anywhere but will seriously consider doing so IF Henry [email protected]#ks up again. Let’s hope he does eh because your furious circle linking won’t change a single thing.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.2

              What does it matter what people think they should be doing?

              Because branding.

            • bbfloyd 4.1.1.1.1.3

              BJ… that has to be the silliest thing you’ve written today… which isn’t saying much…. but then you never do..

              if i was to take that statement at face value, then it would stand to reason that, by definition, all right wing reactionaries would also be rabid racists. which is as ridiculous as the rubbish you are inflicting on this site.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      TVNZ has no responsibility to whining lefties.

      Considering that we’re all part owners in TVNZ then, yes, actually, it does. Or are you saying that owners shouldn’t have a say in the running of their businesses?

      • jbanks 4.2.1

        Again, we’re not talking about what you would like to happen. We are talking about the way it is in reality ie TVNZ is responsible to it’s income & ratings, not complaints that they don’t have to uphold if they don’t want to.

        • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1.1

          So if your little one dimensional model is reality then why is Henry on leave, and why is his boss in the media saying his future is still under consideration?

          • jbanks 4.2.1.1.1

            Engage your brain for once. Henry crossed the line. It wasn’t just the extreme John Minto lefty types that took offence. There was a real threat to the bottom line, TVNZ pulled out the big stick and now reasonable folk are satisfied.

            Also his future isn’t under consideration. The fact that you believe this proves that TVNZ’s spin doctors are doing their job. Like I said, the only way Henry will get fired is if he stuffs up big time again. So unfortunately all your whining is in vain.

            • The Voice of Reason 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh, noes, TVNZ don’t listen to jbanks shock:

              http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4217179/Henrys-future-in-doubt

            • gobsmacked 4.2.1.1.1.2

              HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

              Jbanks, you’re fired!

              • jbanks

                He wasn’t fired you dipshit. You know what resigned means don’t you?

                • gobsmacked

                  What a fantastic weekend. First we get rid of John Banks. Then Paul Henry. Result!

                  Let’s hope “Jbanks” sticks around, with his wonderful Midas touch. Who will get the Jbanks curse tomorrow?

                  We love you, Jbanks, we do
                  We love you, Jbanks, we do
                  Oh, Jbanks we love you

                • The Voice of Reason

                  Yep, it means ‘you’re fired!’, but we’re not going to publicly humiliate you by saying so.

                  Glad you’re taking it so well, jb and at least you are finally right about one thing; Paul Henry’s future is no longer under consideration!

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Yeah banksie, everyone knows what’ resigned’ means in these circumstances.

                  We had the CEO saying he was going to spend the weekend considering Henry’s future in the organisation, a Sunday meeting which Henry took his lawyers to, followed by a resignation that the CEO says was the right thing for him to do.

                  But nah, you’re right. Henry just up and decided to quit, he took his lawyers because he just loves paying them.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.2.1.1.1.3

            • bbfloyd 4.2.1.1.1.4

              bj banks..newsflash numbnuts… henry resigned today. and it was’nt just a couple of slips. the man has been a disgrace from the time he took up the job. he represents a shameful facet of NZ society. and defenders of the man show no more judgement and taste than he did, which is none.

              he’s only been able to stay where he is because of his political connections. which is about all i can say for the bulk of the so called “professionals” working in news and live entertainment in NZ at present.

              at best, it’s utter mediocrity. at worst, shit shovelling of the crassest kind.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.2

          Actually, they do have to uphold the complaints. It’s part of the broadcasting standards.

          The way things are in reality have absolutely no relationship to what goes on in your head.

          • jbanks 4.2.1.2.1

            They don’t actually Draco (you can provide some evidence if you disagree). The BSA rules on whether the response to the complaints was sufficient. Though this is irrelevant to decisions of firing as the BSA can only impose a fine and/or public statement.

  5. KJT 5

    It does not say much for the intelligence of people here that the Harawera’s, Laws and Henry’s of this world are given so much publicity and attention.
    Anyone who has bought up a toddler knows that attention only encourages them.

    • Marty G 5.1

      yeah but these people aren’t toddlers. This is racism being encouraged by institutions, powerful institutions. You don’t change the behaviour of powerful groups by ignoring them but by making their current behaviour politically and/or financially untenable.

  6. KJT 6

    “yeah but these people aren’t toddlers”
    The maturity level is the same..

  7. Alwyn 7

    I cannot see any reason at all for Law’s comments except to point out the the present GG is somewhat overweight. Well so what. Shakespeare gave the best expressed view on thin people, namely that they cannot be trusted.
    On the other hand I would expect some neutrality about Blog comments. In yesterday’s Dom-Post for example Tom Scott’s cartoon appeared to have no other point but a gratuitous swipe at Gerry Brownlee for being overweight. Can we expect that bloggers who attack Laws, and in extreme cases demand that he be sacked, will repeat their attacks on Tom Scott, demanding that Fairfax sack him as well.
    Oh of course I get it now. If a white person says anything about an Indian it is racist. Anything said about someone of Eurpean descent is, of course, always fair comment.

  8. Maggie 8

    Poor Michael can’t bear not being the centre of attention. He is like a spoiled brat, throwing his toys around the room ranting: “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!””

  9. Maggie 9

    No, Alwyn. Tom Scott is a cartoonist, who uses satire and hyperbole to make us laugh. This frequently involves exaggerating the physical features of a public figure.

    Laws isn’t a cartoonist. God only knows WHAT he is other than a flagrant self promoter with no brain and a huge opinion of himself.

  10. Interesting 10

    So…when are the protests outside radio live offices going to be?

    When do we start boycotting the advertisers that are on Radio Live?

    Details please. Got to be consistant.

  11. Honestly, if he’s lost the mayoralty and has so few outlets for his inanity, don’t give him any oxygen. He relies upon a reaction.

  12. Naturally, RadioLive has defended their ratings monkey

    Radio Live cumes (000s per week, all 10+, 24 hr period) and ranking:

    Auckland 58.3 14th
    Wellington 12.5 11th
    Christchurch 35.8 7th
    Dunedin 6.2 12th
    Northland 8.6 8th
    Waikato 9.1 11th
    Tauranga 9.5 10th
    Rotorua 3.2 12th
    Taranaki 5.7 10th
    Hawkes Bay 5.3 14th
    Manawatu 8.4 9th
    Nelson 2.6 11th
    Southland 4.1 12th

    So it does best in Northland, with a high Maori population, and Christchurch, which has become somewhat renowned for… shall we say… a section of the population with less than inclusive attitudes.

    But in every market it gets its arse handed to it by Newstalk ZB (in Auckland, for instance, it’s first, with a cume of 178, almost three times higher; in Wellington it’s 3rd, with a cume of 41.8, over three times higher) and averages 10th in any market.

    I can’t get you Lhaws’ individual ratings (though someone in the industry may care to leak…?) but the station is a dog and Lhaws is one of the fleas on it.

    In terms of profit, Mediaworks shareholders were asked to pour a further $70 million into it’s NZ operations late last year after making a $314 million loss for the year to August 31, 2009.

    Although radio is, of course, much cheaper to run than TV, when the company’s other radio brands are performing better in every market (with presenters paid significantly less than those on Radio Live) one has to ask why they keep the station afloat and why they consider Lhaws to be a good investment.

    Whereas TVNZ are relatively immune to financial pressure exerted via advertisers thanks to its government backing, a struggling radio operation isn’t. Just sayin’…

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    At least the PM has had a learning since he appeared with Henry. Just heard him on the wireless telling me that Former Mayor Lhaws should apologise to the GG because the GG cannae defend himself and deserves respek.

    • gobsmacked 13.1

      Yes, the PM has got it this time, only hours after DPF on Kiwiblog.

      I’ll give Farrar credit for sincerity and speed. Jury’s out on Key.

      Condemning Lhaws is a lot easier, one day after the voters have delivered their verdict on him. Key probably thought this was a “safe” slap-down.

  14. J Mex 14

    This isn’t simply an, uncalled for, attack on Satyanand’s size; you wouldn’t find Lhaws ranting about Gerry Brownlee’s far greater girth

    Um, yes you will, Marty…

    One now awaits the twin towers of the current House – Parekura Horomia and Gerry Brownlee – going the same way. But such would require an act of personal will or admission that, perhaps, neither is prepared to make. Yet. The problem, though, is that the morbidly obese are inherently undeserving. Most public opinion polls are antipathetic to publicly funded surgery for that reason. The rationale appears to be that you got yourself here – now you get yourself out.” – Michael Laws

    Law’s regularly has a crack at all overweight people. Laws’ has referred to Brownlee’s refer to Brownlee’s size a number of times in an unkind way. As have Mallard, Chauvel and many many other right and left wing bloggers and commenters. And some of this is in parliament and official communication. One can only imagine what is said in private about Gerry and others.

    I’m not defending Laws. I really dislike who he appears to be. But let’s cut the bullshit about racism.

    What he said was rude. Fucking rude. Same with Henry.

    Problem is, it’s not enough to call people rude these days. ‘Rude’ carries no weight. Gotta throw in ‘racism’ to add some heft to it. If you can’t actually find ‘racism’, call it ‘dog-whistle racism’.

    It is bullshit. Laws is a rude prick for his claims about Satyanand, and Marty is a rude (and mistaken) prick for claiming that Pansy Wong deliberately mispronounces english words to make fun of Asians. Neither of these claims are racist, but by todays ‘required low level of proof for accusation purposes’, they apparently are.

    The accusation of racism is loosing all meaning and basis in reality. It’s overused and seriously misunderstood (many times intentionally).

    • rosy 14.1

      Well said. People can be rude, vulgar, bigoted without actually being racists. That said I believe PH and ML are racist (as wall as vulgar, bigoted and plain nasty) they constantly expect negative behaviours from defined groups and I believe they will judge people first on the basis of those negative views, and if you pass the test you might be considered all right for a [ ….. ]

      People can get irritated by certain things about particular individuals, and by acknowledging that, we can up the level of discussion and identify the real racistis, sexists and all the other ists who exclude or denigrate people from various groups, believing they will act/behave in a certain way based on prejudicial sterotypes.

      • lprent 14.1.1

        Yeah you are correct. I’m rude, vulgar and bigoted against trolls. Look it says so in my policy. The policy and the reasons for it are clearly stated – it is to ensure that other people aren’t forced to put up with the drivel. It isn’t that much difference from the rules of behavior when I ran a public bar, worked in night clubs or when I was acting as a bouncer.

        The problem is that TVNZ never put those clauses into their contract with PH. Somehow I think that they never would. It isn’t required for the job description. It was just gratuitous

    • bbfloyd 14.2

      jmex… did laws mention brownlee’s size in conjunction with his race? because that was the gist of his comment about the GG.

      • J Mex 14.2.1

        [sigh] I thought it was obvious that I was responding directly to this… “you wouldn’t find Lhaws ranting about Gerry Brownlee’s far greater girth

        As I pointed out. Yes – you would.

        Since you have raised it – is Laws statement racist?:

        “He is a very large, fat man. I don’t know why but just on an Indian it seems slightly incongruous. I mean, we don’t all expect Indians to be begging on the streets of New Delhi, but it’s like Anand discovered the buffet table at, like, 20 and he’s never really left it.”

        If I was to paraphrase what Laws was saying (and I don’t like Laws) then I would say: “This guy is fat. It doesn’t seem normal for an Indian. I mean, we don’t expect them to all be rake thin, but this guy obviously ate all the pies.”

        Racist? No? Dog-Whistle racist? Who the hell knows???. That all depends on the political points you are trying to score. I mean, Marty G reads this meaning into it:

        Indians are naturally skinny because they’re poor (ie morally flawed in the Rightwinger’s mind) and the only way Indians get to be overweight is by being parasites on the ‘white man’ (which is what the reference to the buffet table implies).

        Talk about a seriously long bow. That is either a classic real world example of the Rorschach test in action, or hilarious satire.

        Anyway, if Laws’ comment is racist, then this is racist…

        “He is a very large, tall man. I don’t know why but for a Chinese man it seems slightly incongruous. I mean, we don’t all expect Chinese to be circus midgets, but it’s like this guy is one freakishly long streak of weasels piss”

        Like I said. I believe that Laws is a rude prick. But we don’t need to go tilting at the windmills of racism when there is enough to be disgusted at in the statement itself.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    So now Laws has apologised.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10679798

    What is it with these idiots?

    “Mouth, seeks Brain, for long-distance relationship.”

  16. Drakula 16

    Marty: my sentiments exactly, an odeous little creep!

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