Showing posts with label MCP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MCP. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

MCP Watch: Richard Prosser MP

"Because our society, New Zealand society, Western society in general, has been hijacked by a conspiracy of Silly Little Girls. They’re everywhere; in the schools, in the media, in the public service, in the judiciary, even in Cabinet.

Everywhere we turn, the foundations of masculinity, the pillars of male-ness which have underpinned the construction and development of our very civilisation, are being undermined, by Silly Little Girls. And we are putting up with it."

From Richard Prosser's new book Uncommon Dissent.  (The above extract is via the Wellington Young Feminists' Collective's facebook page.)

Richard Prosser FAQs:

1.  Who is Richard Prosser?
A new NZ First MP, elected via the party list at the November 2011 election.

2.  What other antediluvian views does he hold?
Prosser is also a card-carrying Climate Change Denier, believes we should ban the burqa, and identifies as a "genuine freedom-loving, gonad-equipped, libertarian go-getter[s]".

3.  WTF?
See answer to question 1.

Feel free to discuss Mr Prosser's early attempt at the coveted title of Most Sexist MP in Our Current Parliament in comments, including, if you have access to the PDF ($26 to buy!!) sharing more quotes for our enlightenment and correction.

UPDATE:  Tallulah at The Lady Garden is suggesting a pigtail protest, along with knee socks and lollipops, which sounds like fun.  What say you? 

Monday, 5 December 2011

The upsides of Minister John Banks

This post contains sarcasm.

Now now lefties and assorted progressive types, John Banks becoming Minister of Regulatory Reform, for Small Business, and Associate Minister for Education and Commerce isn't all bad.

You just need to stretch your thinking muscles a bit and I'm sure you can see the upsides of this dandy new arrangement that involves ACT and National agreeing to implement policy that wasn't in either of their election manifestos.  Really, everyone is totally overreacting.

Sure Banks has a long history of homophobia, misogyny, racism and general all purpose bigotry, not to mention being of the Drowning Government in the Bathtub frame of mind, but he's just a man, man.  Chillax.

Here's a list of the upsides to help you be as relaxed as our fabled Prime Minister:
  1. Key will have another multimillionaire called John to drink tea with.
  2. Adolf won't be the only person regularly using the third person to talk about themselves.
  3. Everyone will be able to spell transmogrification.
  4. John may be able to afford to buy another pair of glasses so we don't have to always look at those hipster ones that constantly remind me of Paul Goldsmith.
  5. Banks will be too busy to put any serious time into re-building ACT, even if he wants to
  6. He may have to duel with the Ministers for Medium and Large Business for Budget funding.
  7. Banks will probably be in Auckland less, and when he is he'll be in meetings, lots and lots of meetings.  So a significantly reduced chance of bumping into him in Newmarket.
  8. At least he's not Minister of Corrections.
  9. Or Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Maori Affairs, Women's Affairs, or Local Government.
  10. We'll now get lots of use for our Outrage Faces.
This was all I could think of.  And I thought really really hard.

Feel free to add your contributions in comments.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Is it just me or did the EMA just reinforce their sexism?

Very quick post from me on the Issue of the Morning - Alasdair Thompson's incredibly sexist comments that women are paid less because of taking sick leave off for periods and childcare.

 This would be worrying on it's own, but the fact that Thompson leads the major employer body in New Zealand, the EMA, leaves me chilled.  These are the views he encounters when he talks to the employers he represents, and what echoes around the EMA and thus to other bodies it has a close relationship with like other employer bodies, the Business Round Table, and so on.

I wonder what it feels like today to be a woman employed by Thompson?  Or a woman in his family?

There are some great posts out there about this already by others, here's just a few of them, feel free to add more in comments.

unequal pay is ok with employers & manufacturers association - stargazer
This is what makes periods painful - stef
I'm sick of this bullshit. Period. -Tallulah Spankhead

I would like to add one thing to this discussion - which is to point to the EMA's media statement which went up on Scoop around ten minutes ago.  I believe this statement makes things worse, because it includes this kind of rubbish:
"Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association, says its only right that women should be paid more than men when their output and productivity is greater than men.

We back higher pay for women when they're doing a better job than men, he said."
We are not talking about higher pay for women, we are talking about equal pay.  The problem is now that men are getting higher pay, as a group, and if you turn Thompson's statement above around then assumedly he means that men get higher pay than women because they're doing a better job than women.  Is it just me or did he just say something incredibly sexist?  Again.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Creepy McCreep

If you are a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, as I am, you may find this post slightly confusing, so I'm going to start out with a definition.

When I refer to Richard Lewis I do NOT mean this guy:

He is a pretty funny guy.  I don't find his stylings on CYE creepy at all.

When I refer to Richard Lewis I DO mean this guy:

He is a pretty scary guy.  I did find his stylings on Campbell Live tonight INCREDIBLY CREEPY.

Richard Lewis, political leader of Destiny Church, repeatedly interrupted and talked over Metiria Turei, co-leader of Aotearoa NZ's third biggest political party*.  I found his manner overbearing and intimidating.  I felt awful watching it; his bullying behaviour seemed to me rooted in a sexism that seeks to shut women up because they have nothing valuable for him to hear, unless they are speaking in an appropriate womanly context such as a female-only organisation.   I actually found him scary. 

And then, when I thought he was already being a Creep of the Highest Order he proved me wrong and Richard Lewis, political leader of Destiny Church, went to a whole new level of Creepy McCreep by touching Turei on the arm, repeatedly, and in a way just short of actively trying to hold her back. 


It's been two hours and I'm still squirming.  Anyone else feeling it?

*  And currently the only female Party leader in Parliament.   Wrong, so wrong.  Sorry!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

How many times do we have to say it? NO ONE ASKS FOR RAPE

Garth George does it again. (Warning, possible triggering around rape and sexual assault in his column)

His key points appear to be:
  • Andy Haden should not have been a Rugby World Cup Ambassador in the first place because he is a straight-talker rather than "trained in the art of dissimulation and practised at long-winded circumlocution by which they spend hours saying nothing at all."
  • Haden shouldn't have made the racist statement he did earlier in the year because it was "patently wrong" and, as a good Kiwi Bloke (TM), he should have used a local racial slur rather than the imported "darkies".
  • Haden's comments about women asking for rape were "fair enough", but shouldn't have been said publicly.
  • Robin Brooke's alleged behaviour was bad "since at the time he was newly married."
Then there are these really really awful statements from George, which I'm putting after the fold because they may be triggering for some:
"Surely it is perfectly logical to acknowledge that if female groupies attach themselves to sportsmen, drink with them and take them home, chances are they'll end up screwed.

...The perennial publicity given to the off-field behaviour of testosterone-fuelled rugby - and particularly Australian rugby league - players in recent years should surely have warned any sports-loving young woman to stay well away unless she is prepared to go all the way.

And, once again, one has to wonder why it has taken well over a decade for this complaint to be made and why the media should make such a meal of it.

One has to wonder, too, at the naivete of rape victim advocate Louise Nicholas who said that rugby players needed to be prepared for groupies and walk away from situations that could go awry.

Surely, in this day and age of prolific casual sex, she has to be joking. Don't women have as much, if not more, responsibility for keeping themselves away from unwelcome male attention?
So when it comes to rape the onus is actually on women to avoid it. And to encourage men to think about their own behaviour is "naive." Robin Brooke's main sin, from what's been alleged to date, is cheating on his new wife.

You won't be surprised to discover that George has managed to get through this whole column without using the word rape, except when using it to describe Louise Nicholas' role for Rape Prevention Education.

I shake my head in disbelief.

If it's not politic for Andy Haden to say these things in public, as George himself seems to be agreeing with, why is it ok for Garth to put them in his Herald column, indeed expand on them and imho state them in an even worse manner?

Where do you start with someone who is so hard-wired to blame women for rape?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Handy Andy he ain't

Beware, this post contains sarcasm.

We've been a little busy here, arguing about abortion - too busy to turn our attention to the incredibly misogynist comments of erstwhile Rugby World Cup Ambassador Andy Haden. I can't speak for the others on this, but I tend to operate on a One Sexist Arse A Day Limit. Andy has had to wait his turn. He'll no doubt be relieved to hear that today is his day.

Having previously shown he's just a teeny bit racist, Haden came out earlier this week as a sexist too. Hopefully he'll be happy with the double and not come back later for a trifecta attempt with something hideously homophobic. Somehow I am not feeling very reassured about that.

So what did he say that was so so awful (possible triggering ahead around rape):

From the Herald:
He was talking about historic sex allegations against former All Black Robin Brooke made by two unnamed women.

"There's a bloke called Hugh Grant - he got into a bit of trouble like this and I think if the cheque bounces sometimes, they only realise that they've been raped, you know, sometimes," he said.

"These things have got two sides to them and I think you can get on the front foot.

"It's an equal society now, some of these girls are targeting rugby players and targeting sportsmen and they do so at their peril today, I think."

Charming. Rape is fair turn-about for women who want spend time with sportsmen. And of course it's only rape if a woman doesn't get what she wanted. Is he actually meaning to imply that rugby players aren't very good at sex?

Haden is of course entitled to be a sexist arse. He can hold these views and I can't stop him. Even though he is very very wrong. What he can't do is spout this kind of crap when he's in a public role, representing us as an ambassador (even if it is about the Rugby World Cup).

Who's in charge of these RWC Ambassadors? That would be RWC Minister Murray McCully. He didn't have a chance to discuss "this matter" with Mr Haden before he resigned. I can understand that, after all, Haden made the comments on Deaker on Sport on Wednesday and it's a long time between then and Saturday. Maybe the Minister, or Mr Haden, are reliant on Telecom XT?

Even being charitable about the time aspect, McCully didn't have to go and accept the resignation "with sadness". Unless that sadness was based on being saddened that there are still people who think that women ask for rape in this country.

Maybe McCully was teary-eyed at the thought that Haden's resignation didn't contain an apology, but instead reads so*:
Dear Murray, I wish to advise that I have decided to resign my role as an honorary Ambassador of the Government's 2011 Rugby World Cup programme. I do so to ensure that neither your leveraging initiatives or the game of Rugby that I love are compromised by the current media backlash to the comments I have made on television recently. I feel that to stay in the role, given the current media beat-up, would mean having to remove myself from making public comments on the game or related issues. I have always believed in saying what I think and I will always be true to myself in that regard and it's a sad day for society when people such as I are unable to express what we believe without a media beat-up from those with sectional interests.
I used to love rugby too (although possibly not enough to give it a capital R in the middle of a sentence). I grew up with pictures of rugby players on my walls, not to ogle them or secretly kiss them before bedtime, but because I was truly into the game itself. I didn't want to marry a rugby player, or indeed ever meet one, I just wanted to watch them play because I caught a love of the game from my father.

It was idiots like Haden that turned me off rugby. All the trappings that accompanied the first XV at my school (who weren't actually very good, they weren't even in the first grade of the local high schools' competition); the special treatment they received, how they got off when they did something wrong, and how quickly they bought into this mentality of God-like status once they made the team. I knew as a teen that it was wrong, but I didn't realise how ingrained it was in our country until I got older and started to see it writ large in the ABs and the rugby culture that surrounds them even after they can no longer pass the ball without creaking.

Haden is part of that culture, part of perpetuating it, and as an Elder Statesman of the game when he mutters about "darkies" and women asking for rape his words are heard widely and with authority. The fact that he can't see that, the fact that he can't even see his own privilege in having public platforms to make his pratfalls from, certainly makes me sad, even if it doesn't particularly grieve McCully.

I think Haden, and McCully, can consider this episode something of a diplomacy FAIL.

* The only place I could find such a full account of the resignation email was this really truly awful media release from SOLO (Lindsay Perigo) entitled Andy Haden - On Of The Few Honest And Courageous Men In NZ Public Life. I don't recommend making with the clicky, but wanted to be fair about acknowledging where I got it from.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Every sperm is stolen

There's been a lot of discussion recently, as there seems to be whenever we have a Tory government, about those who are receiving the domestic purposes benefit (DPB), which exists to give sole parents who need state assistance a very modest income to provide for themselves and their children.

Note that the DPB is for those parenting on their own, not just mothers. Yet so much of the dialogue is focused on women, and on some very vile hating on women.

For example, when TVNZ 7's Simon Pound tweeted "You know what I'd like to see? Everytime the DPB is attacked how about attacking the missing deadbeat dads as the problem, not the mums" he inadvertently provoked a Facebook commenter (not Pound) to write on his wall some really misogynistic crap about women, and how we are "sperm stealers."

This Men's Rights Activist has such insight into the female of the species that he reckons not only do we steal sperm, we are also operating under a biological imperative to lie to attractive men about the success rates of contraception. He also believes that we live in a PC Feminist State (that'll explain that gender pay gap then), ladies recycle sperm harvested from blow-jobs to impregnate ourselves (after all, that is the most effective way to get preggers), and "promiscuous behaviour" leads not only to sexually transmitted infections, but also rapes and domestic violence (and Climate Change?).

Our MRA star wants the law to somehow enforce women informing men of their fertility status prior to intercourse so that males can make informed choices about whether to spend their sperm or not. Shame we don't get red bums like baboons do I guess.

The MRA doesn't get away with this crap unchallenged, thankfully. But the reality is that sadly there are people out there who have such a warped view of women, and of those who are on the DPB in particular. This guy would be right at home in many Kiwiblog comment threads for instance.

People, men and women, end up on the DPB for a wide variety of reasons. While no doubt many are there as the result of an unplanned pregnancy with no long-term partner around, others were probably in relationships when they had their child(ren) but aren't now. It actually doesn't matter why someone needs the DPB, what matters is that they get enough to support themselves and their children in their time of need.

Yet again I find myself asking, why oh why do we moralise about this one benefit and no others? Could it be because this is a benefit primarily accessed by women, and worse than that, women who have had S.E.X and aren't married!!11!!

Finally, I would be prepared to bet money that there is not a single mother on the DPB right now who stole sperm honestly donated by a man solely for the purposes of oral sex and willfully misused it to get herself up the duff. It scares me that there is someone out there, and sadly probably more than one person, who believes this kind of rubbish is real.

Thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who emailed me this tip.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Yet more Not News

Last night TV3's attempt at a news bulletin was shameful. I could not believe the prominence given to a story that is so totally Not News that bloggers in Australia have already been tearing apart the irrelevancies, and the underlying misogyny, for most of the week.

It is Not News to cover the breakup of a celebrity couple. It is Not News even if one of them travels from our country to a neighbouring country to deal with it, in the midst of a sporting tour he is part of. It is Not News because actually their relationship is a) no one else's business and b) in no way whatsoever part of the broad range of things that it could be considered in the public interest to report on.

But we've had reporters and cameras camped outside someone's apartment, long range lenses scrutinising whether there is a certain ring on a certain finger, a live cross for absolutely no good reason on TV3 for several senseless minutes. How about we put some of those almighty media resources into some analysis of the significant cuts announced for the Ministry of Education yesterday, or what the SAS are still doing in Afghanistan, or John Key's (now no longer) secret plan to stop illegal whaling by legally allowing whaling?

One News may well have been just as bad. I was so annoyed at TV3 that I changed channels to the competition briefly, and I don't recall seeing anything about Lara Bingle and Michael Clarke, but then it was One News so I wasn't really paying attention. I roll my eyes at them all really - I'm sure if One News wasn't as invasive and irrelevant as TV3 on this story they'll have had a hard core debrief today about how they can do better (by which I mean worse) next time.

Oh, and Mr Emmerson, you generally irritate me beyond words, but this absolutely disgusting effort that never should have made it to print, is a new low, even for you.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

MCP Watch: Tau Henare

Whether you agree with Cactus Kate or not (and I generally don't), this email from Tau Henare to her contains some unacceptable sexism of a bizarrely old-fashioned kind:
Subject: Re: Facebook
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 14:55:11 +1300

What a venal and vile women you are. You should stop work, find a man, and have a family. Maybe that might chill you out. At least I choose to live in my country and try to help, rather than slink off overseas and bludge off the Asians for a living. Come home, stand for election and do what you accuse others of not doing. You are a biggott and a racist. Its actually not what you say but the intent of your vile words.

[my emphasis]
I suppose at least he didn't write it in the usual antiquarian order suggesting finding a man before quitting work. And that whole idea is hardly in-keeping with National's renewed assault on those who find themselves financially dependent on another, when the other is the State.

Get with the 20th Century Tau, and maybe you'll be ready for the 21st by the time it's half over.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

MCP Watch: some of them can do housework

Further to the Quick Hit yesterday about The Egalitarian Index, I was pretty unimpressed by the "house husband" Checkpoint called upon for comment yesterday.
"I've got two hands. I can dust and vacuum at the same time. You don't see any women doing that." (I paraphrase)
That's right, women are well known for their widespread inability to multitask. Plus it is an oft stated biological fact that women only have one hand.
"I like to get it all done in one go. Women take lots of coffee breaks. I don't do that, because I like getting it done and then having spare time." (again with the paraphrasing)
Because coffee breaks are not spare time, and a man's spare time is of infinitely more value than a woman's coffee break.

Yes, I'm grumpy.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Meatheads update

Earlier this year, the aesthetic marvel that is this ad appeared in D-scene, a Dunedin newspaper, and was kindly emailed to THM by Keely, a reader. It promotes Dunedin's Huntsman Steakhouse restaurant.

The ad prompted complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, which upheld the complaints on the grounds that the ad degraded women. So far, so good - but what I don't get is that the ASA seemed to partially accept the Huntsman's excuse that the ad was part of an Orientation week promotion aimed at students. The ASA commented that, although targeted at students, the ad reached the broader community; as if to say that, if the ad had denigrated women to a student audience only, it might have been OK.

I'm confused. Is the ASA suggesting that students already have a low opinion of women, so sending degrading material in their direction doesn't matter?

Monday, 4 May 2009

TVNZ's response to the complaints about Paul Henry's behaviour towards Stephanie Mills

Readers who made complaints to TVNZ about Paul Henry's on air treatment of Stephanie Mills have probably received their responses from TVNZ by now. To refresh your memory here's a link to Ms Giraffe's excellent complaint letter which she allowed us to publish as a guest post. (If you really really want to get your blood pressure up you can search this blog for "paul henry" and spend a significant amount of time getting riled up all over again.)

The full reply I've received from TVNZ is below the jump, and here are the crucial paragraphs:
The discussions referring to her in the subsequent Viewer Feedback segments of the programme were inappropriate and not relevant to the reason she appeared on Breakfast. In the circumstances, when Ms Mills was a guest appearing on the programme to discuss a serious issue, such personal comments about her appearance were inappropriate and unfair to her. Accordingly, the Committee considers Ms Mills was treated unfairly and upholds the complaint under this standard.

TVNZ is committed to maintaining broadcasting standards and views this sort of breach very seriously. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. As a result of this incident, a number of discussions have been held within the News & Current Affairs department to clarify TVNZ’s expectations around such matters. The Head of News & Current Affairs has called meetings with the Executive Producer and senior staff of Breakfast, and also with Mr Henry himself, to insist on the need for more care and discretion around editorial decisions about what the programme covers. In particular, Mr Henry has been told that on-air editorial decisions are not his to make and that he must adhere to the Executive Producer’s decisions in this regard.

TVNZ would like to apologise to you and your family for any offence caused by Mr Henry’s remarks. As discussed above, steps have been taken to ensure that broadcasting standards are adhered to.
Now this is a pretty good response in some ways (certainly in contrast to the way complaints about ALAC's awful Lisa Advert were handled). TVNZ upheld the complaint, they have taken some action directly with Paul Henry to address it, and they've apologised.

So what do you think dear readers? Here are ms poinsettia's thoughts to start your cogitative processes off:
But ... I can't help but feel that Henry has got away with it, since all the meetings have been behind the scenes and have not required him to front up publically and say "I was wrong and I am sorry about that". So TVNZ gets the publicity hit from the outrage, yet by not forcing Henry to apologise the show retains its appeal for those gender-norm-loving sexists who apparently see Henry's rudeness as an excellent form of resistance to, ugh, political correctness (since good manners are clearly excessive ocial control).

However, making a formal complaint may not work since I am only a complainant, not the judge. More importantly, Stephanie Mills may just want this story to die and referring it to the Broadcasting Standards Authority may reignite interest in the story and end up revictimising her. Further, I suspect any apology would be of the "I'm sorry if you were offended" variety (which really means "I apologise for your reaction, not my behaviour").
Big thanks to ms p for emailing me about this. She's summed up pretty well how I feel about it. What say the rest of you, readers and writers of The Hand Mirror?

The full letter from TVNZ, including a summary of what happened, my complaint, and their response, is what you'll get if you click on
Dear Julie Fairey
Further to the letter sent on 31 March I wish to advise that TVNZ’s Complaints Committee has completed its enquiry into your formal complaint about Breakfast shown on TV One on 25 March.

Your complaint has been considered with reference to Standard 6 Fairness of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

The Programme
Breakfast is a mixture of news, serious interviews, magazine segments, review and often frequent good-natured ribbing at the expense of almost anyone in the headlines or visiting the set. Participating guests and viewers alike appreciate this.

In particular the ‘shoot from the lip’ hyperbolic comments of the co-presenter, Paul Henry, are an accepted style and integral part of the daily morning fare for the programme’s growing audience.

On the morning of 25 March, Greenpeace spokesperson Stephanie Mills was invited onto the programme to discuss the issue of compensation for the health effects of nuclear testing. Following the conclusion of the interview, included in a Viewer Feedback segment of the programme at 7.43am, Paul Henry read out emails received by Breakfast in response to Ms Mills’ appearance. Despite the protestations of his co-host, Alison Mau, saying ‘please don’t’ Mr Henry proceeds to read out various emails received by the programme. Mr Henry begins by stating ’this one quite simply just says “moustache.”’ He comments ‘everyone in my ear is saying don’t read it out.’ After Mr Henry reads out several more emails received from viewers, Ms Mau states “I’m having nothing to do with this, let’s move on to Dancing With The Stars shall we?” to which Mr Henry interrupts by repeatedly and emphatically referring to the fact that there was a woman on television with a moustache.

Later in the morning, at 8.40am, the programme returns to Viewer Feedback received throughout the programme. The banner on-screen identifies the segment as ‘Paul’s Hate Mail.’ Ms Mau proceeds to read out an email from a female viewer explaining common medical causes of female facial hair, the correspondence ends with the viewer’s comment that Mr Henry’s remarks had reduced her to tears. Mr Henry rolls his eyes and says ‘start a group.’ He then questions ‘how hard can it be to wax?’

Acknowledging that the studio had gone quiet, he concludes the discussion by stating ‘at the end of the day, we all, everyone at home was sitting there, we were sitting here and there was a lady with a moustache on. All I did was read out peoples’ comments, I mean it’s like the elephant in the room isn’t it?” Ms Mau agrees and comments, ‘that’s true, that’s all he did was read out comments from you the viewers.’ Mr Henry continues stating ‘You know, god, there’s a lady with a moustache, don’t mention it!’

Your Complaint
You state that
"I have been spurred to write by Henry's treatment of one of Breakfast's guests last week. After the interview with Greenpeace spokesperson Stephanie Mills, Henry proceeded to focus not on the issue at hand(compensation for nuclear testing victims) but something completely irrelevant, ie the appearance of Ms Mills.

"I found this behaviour unacceptable. Nothing Henry said was pushing the envelope, or standing up for free speech, or saying what no one else dared to. In fact his statements merely supported the ongoing judgement of people not on their merits, their words or their actions but on their appearance. That is far from good journalism. I would hope that Breakfast, and our state broadcaster, would aspire to a higher standard than Henry's actions last week (and his defence of them since) signal."

The Relevant Standard
Standard 6 Fairness
In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are required to deal justly and fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.

6a Care should be taken in the editing of programme material to ensure that the extracts used are a true reflection, and not a distortion, of the original event or the overall views expressed.
6b Contributors and participants in any programme should be dealt with fairly and should, except as required in the public interest, be informed of the reason for their proposed contribution and participation and the role that is expected of them.
6c Programme makers should not obtain information or gather pictures through misrepresentation or deception, except as required in the public interest when the material cannot be obtained by other means.
6d Broadcasters should acknowledge the right of individuals to express their own opinions.
6e Broadcasters should take particular care when dealing with distressing situations, and with grief and bereavement. Discretion and sensitivity are expected.
6f Broadcasters should recognise the rights of individuals, and particularly children and young people, not to be exploited, humiliated or unnecessarily identified.
6g Broadcasters should avoid portraying persons in programmes in a manner that encourages denigration of, or discrimination against, sections of the community on account of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, or occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religious, cultural or political beliefs. This requirement is not intended to prevent the broadcast of material which is:
i) factual, or
ii) the expression of genuinely held opinion in news, current affairs or other factual programmes, or
iii) in the legitimate context of a dramatic, humorous or satirical work.
6h Broadcasters should avoid causing unwarranted distress to surviving family members by showing library or archival footage of bodies or human remains. This guideline is not intended to prevent the use of material which adds significantly to the understanding of an issue of public interest.

Ms Mills appeared on Breakfast to discuss the issue of compensation for the health
effects of nuclear testing. The discussions referring to her in the subsequent Viewer Feedback segments of the programme were inappropriate and not relevant to the reason she appeared on Breakfast. In the circumstances, when Ms Mills was a guest appearing on the programme to discuss a serious issue, such personal comments about her appearance were inappropriate and unfair to her. Accordingly, the Committee considers Ms Mills was treated unfairly and upholds the complaint under this standard.

TVNZ is committed to maintaining broadcasting standards and views this sort of breach very seriously. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. As a result of this incident, a number of discussions have been held within the News & Current Affairs department to clarify TVNZ’s expectations around such matters.
The Head of News & Current Affairs has called meetings with the Executive Producer and senior staff of Breakfast, and also with Mr Henry himself, to insist on the need for more care and discretion around editorial decisions about what the programme covers. In particular, Mr Henry has been told that on-air editorial decisions are not his to make and that he must adhere to the Executive Producer’s decisions in this regard.

TVNZ would like to apologise to you and your family for any offence caused by Mr Henry’s remarks. As discussed above, steps have been taken to ensure that broadcasting standards are adhered to.

Right to Refer to Broadcasting Standards Authority and Time Limit
In accordance with section 7(3) of the Broadcasting Act you are hereby notified that it is your right, should you be dissatisfied with this decision, to refer the matter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, P O Box 9213, Wellington, as provided under section 8 of the Act, for the purpose of an investigation and review of the decision. You have 20 working days after receipt of this letter to exercise this right of referral.

Yours sincerely
Dianne Martin
Programme Standards Manager

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

MCP Watch: Karl du Fresne on women's accents

Dominion Post curmudgeon Karl du Fresne dedicated a third of his column yesterday to the horror that is the bad bad sound of lady broadcasters talking:
It won't surprise anyone to hear that my periodic grizzling about the ghastly voices of female broadcasters has had zero effect. If anything, things have got worse.

On my local radio station I hear a young woman announcer who sounds as if she has just inhaled helium. Even Radio New Zealand, the last citadel of correct pronunciation, has fallen to the Barbarians. There are female reporters on the state-owned radio network who would make Lyn of Tawa sound like the Queen.
But wait, there's more!
I recently heard a female RNZ journalist report that a district howth board had wowcomed a crackdown on teenage drinkers. And did you know the Labour Party is led by someone named Full Goff?

Female broadcasters were once regarded as exemplars of proper speech, but in a bizarre upending of the norm, they now talk in a wince-inducing kay-way accent far worse than anything heard on the streets.
Really? What about male broadcasters?

You'll be pleased to know though that du Fresne does not restrict his criticism to Kiwi sheilas:
It's almost a relief to report that the phenomenon is not unique to New Zealand. Australian political journalist Kerry-Anne Walsh, who does a weekly report from Canberra on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report, has a voice that would make a flock of galahs sound melodious.
Can't say I'd noticed. i love listening to Kerry-Anne Walsh as I find what she has to say interesting, and often communicated in a witty and intelligent manner. Silly me!
I have heard it argued that none of this matters as long as we can understand what people are saying,
Finally some sense!
to which my response is twofold. First, it's physically painful to listen to some of these awful voices torturing the language; and second, it's getting to the point where we can't understand them.
Oh dear, I typed too soon. I wonder what type of torture reading a Karl du Fresne column constitutes?
It's only a matter of time before we'll need subtitles on the TV news bulletins to explain what some female journalists and newsreaders are saying.
But not the men. Maybe we should just replace the ladies with fellas and solve the problem?

Big thanks to reader Tessa for emailing me about this stunning piece of ridiculousness.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Diagnosis: dickhead

For the second time in recent history, Paul Henry has shown he's more interested in what a woman looks like that what she says or does.

Interviewing Josh Kronfeld about Rachel, his Dancing with the Stars partner, Henry said, 'You obviously got very close to [Rachel's] outfits, and some of them were stunning. Was it hard to keep your mind on the moves?".

Kronfeld succinctly said what many of us have been thinking, calling Henry a 'dickhead' on live TV.

He added later, "Well, the guy was being a dickhead ... It was just a cheap shot, and cheapened what dancing means to Rachel."

Good on you, Josh. It's a sad irony, though, that Paul Henry is indifferent when the ladies point out his mindless sexism - but now that an ex-All Black's done it, there's a chance he'll notice.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Guest post: Ms Giraffe's complaint to TVNZ re: Mr Paul Henry

Thanks very much to reader Ms Giraffe for emailing this to me for publication. My own complaint was quite short and less comprehensive, so it's great to have an example to put up that is so thorough!

Thursday 2 April 2009

Complaints Committee
PO Box 3819

FORMAL COMPLAINT regarding Paul Henry’s treatment of an interviewee on Wednesday 25th March 2009 on the Breakfast show on TV One.

Dear Complaints Committee,

I was horrified to see Paul Henry’s treatment of Stephanie Mills from Greenpeace after her interview on Breakfast. Paul Henry being horrible to interviewees is nothing new to me - his pompous, arrogant and rude behaviour is the very reason I have already switched to Sunrise on TV3. Instead I watched this disaster pan out on YouTube and on various blogs and I got incensed to the point where I thought I should put a formal complaint in to you.

I believe that Paul Henry has breached a number of code requirements and standards within the Broadcasting Act 1989 and indeed your own TVNZ Charter.

Background – Stephanie Mills from Greenpeace, was interviewed on Breakfast about nuclear testing. After her appearance Henry took great delight in reading out comments (texts and emails) from viewers regarding Mills’ facial hair. Alison Mau asked Henry (in fact used the words ‘please’ and ‘beg’) not to voice the comments. Henry mentioned that the producer asked him not to bring up the comments and yet he did. Henry smiled, giggled and emphasised derogatory words – this is why I say he delighted in bringing it up.

1. Code requirements – s 21(1)(e) – “fair and accurate programmes and procedures for correcting factual errors and redressing unfairness”

I don’t believe that Breakfast effectively redressed the concerns of viewers who were upset with Henry’s treatment of Ms Mills. Reading out two emails from concerned viewers didn’t mitigate the damage done by Henry. Henry did not express any remorse for his actions, he barely bothered to look at the camera and looked like he was seeking support from the sidelines while Alison Mau expressed views from upset viewers. This segment was captioned “Paul’s Hate Mail”.

2. Code requirements – s 21(1)(e) – “safeguards against the portrayal of persons in programmes in a manner that encourages denigration of, or discrimination against, sections of the community on account of sex, race, age, disability, or occupational status or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religious, cultural or political beliefs”

I believe that Henry picked viewer comments out that portrayed Greenpeace and those who work for the organisation in a negative manner. This made negative and discriminatory views over-shadow the point of Mills appearing on Breakfast and was an attack on the status of Greenpeace.

Allowing debate to be focussed on an interviewee’s physical appearance was particularly unprofessional. My belief is that this led to a series of discriminatory comments to be made about woman and was sexist.

3. Standard 1 – Good taste and decency “Broadcasters must take into consideration current norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour”

I do not believe that Henry treated Mills in a decent manner. The comments were in bad taste and were completely off topic. Henry’s behaviour in bringing up the negative viewer comments were also in bad taste and allowed them a hearing they would not have had otherwise.

4. Standard 6 b – Fairness “Contributors and participants in any programme should be dealt with fairly”

Henry treated Mills with contempt and disrespect which was far from fair, balanced and professional.

5. Standard 6 f – Fairness “Broadcasters should recognise the rights of individuals … not to be exploited, humiliated or unnecessarily identified”

It was clearly Henry’s choice and Henry’s choice alone to voice the negative opinions of a few viewers which I believe could only have caused Mills some humiliation. I cringed at the comments made and can only imagine how this would make Mills, her family and her friends feel. In voicing these comments I also believe Henry set a dangerous precedent of airing personal opinions that have nothing to do with the topic that interviewees appear on Breakfast to highlight.

6. TVNZ Charter – “highest standards of programme quality and editorial integrity”

The treatment of Mills was of the lowest quality and completely lacked editorial integrity. While viewers are entitled to their opinion, they had nothing to do with the purpose of Mills interview (nuclear testing). I would have expected that the honourable course of action would have been to stay silent on the personal attack issue and only read comments that related to the issue of the interview.

7. TVNZ Charter – “contribute to a sense of citizenship and national identity”

Greenpeace is a group that adds value to the citizenship and identity debates that New Zealanders have about environmental issues. Henry’s disregard of their message by allowing personal attacks on their spokesperson to be aired meant that the nuclear testing message and debate of such was lost.

8. TVNZ Charter – “promotes informed and many-sided debate and stimulates critical thought”

The types of debate that Breakfast should have been promoting around the Greenpeace interview were viewer’s thoughts on nuclear testing, with an attempt to balance agreement and disagreement with Greenpeace’s message. What Henry did was to encourage debate focussed on Mills’s physical appearance. Making jokes about facial hair is not stimulating critical thought or many-sided debate, it was puerile, disrespectful and sexist.

What dismays me more is that many comments on the blogs that have been written as a consequence of this display show that Henry allowed people to feel that it is acceptable to poke fun at people, and that Henry is some sort of champion of un-PC-ness. Not allowing public humiliation of people is far from political correctness gone mad, it is simply showing respect for another human being.

If TVNZ allows Henry to continue such vitriolic attacks on guests to the Breakfast show then they are implicitly agreeing to his methods and behaviour, and supporting his view that it is ok to humiliate people, to treat them with disregard, contempt and arrogance.

I look forward to your feedback on my formal complaint. I will not be watching Breakfast to see if Henry apologises or to see if he does or does not repeat such behaviour again. I’ve switched off already, and this incident confirms for me that I made the right decision not to allow myself to be angered and disgusted by Paul Henry and his behaviour ever again. I will not support such behaviour by watching Breakfast so I would appreciate you letting me know of the outcome as I will not watch it play out on air.

If you do make a complaint you will need to put your name on it, and also your postal address, even if making the complaint by email. More details about making a complaint can be found here (scroll down). Please note that you are obliged to complain to the broadcaster first, before making a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Precisely why Paul Henry's judgyness is unacceptable to me

Because it's Henry and his ilk who make women fearful to speak in case their looks are picked apart.

Because a woman who is interviewed about something unrelated to her appearance should not have to put up with the discussion being refocused to that. Especially when what she has to say is too challenging for the host's mental abilities.

Because there is a gender element to this; I can never imagine Paul Henry reading out a fax about Don Brash being wrinkly and how he should get botox. Not that that would be ok.

Because there is also a right-wing bias to this; part of the reason Henry would never read out a fax criticising Brash's appearance is because he is a member of the same political club. He frequently belittles left-wing commentators on the show, usually after they are gone and can no longer reply. These are not the actions of a responsible journalist.

Because he didn't respect his fellow presenter, Alison Mau, when she pleaded with him not to read the fax out. Anyone else think he might have thought twice if he'd had a man next to him saying no?

Because I would really like my nieces to grow up in a world where what they say and do is more important than what they looked like at the time.

Because if Paul Henry seriously thinks that everyone else watching Stephanie Mills was only thinking about her facial hair then he needs to get out of the studio, out of the A List events, to where real people talk about real things, like climate change, and the recession, and workers rights, and putting food on the table, and even how to ice cupcakes, not whether or not someone else should wax.

Because Henry's revelling in the attention and thinks it's a huge laugh. I don't know what Stephanie Mills thinks about it but I do know what I think about it. His indifference is the most frustrating thing for me; he doesn't get it, he doesn't want to get it, he doesn't even get that he is so not getting it. He doesn't care, and we can't make him care.

Which is why I sincerely hope that his boss, or the BSA, or the advertisers on Breakfast might be able to get through to him precisely why he should care. Not because he could lose his job, or the show could lose ratings or advertisers; but because what he did was unacceptable. I have this nasty feeling that he's going to twist it all around until he's the victim, and the champion of free speech, when in fact his actions are part of a culture of stifling the speech of those he doesn't agree with.

The problem here is not the response of viewers to Henry. The problem is Henry.

Info for emailing TVNZ and others can be found here.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Paul Henry MCP round-up

There's been rather a lot of Blogland writing about this, including (in reverse chronological order):

*Paul Henry's views - james, Editing the Herald
*Precisely why Paul Henry's judgyness is unacceptable to me - Julie, here
*I don't get these people - Julie, here
Paul Henry defends his right to act like a child - Anna, here
You can has entitlement issues - Queen of Thorns, Ideologically Impure - a must read
Sack Henry Now. - Tane, The Standard
Moustachegate - Bridget Saunders (yes, you read that right), Stuff
Guest post: Paul Henry makes a bad bad choice - Gina, here
Morning Sickness: NZ's Real Life David Brent - Catherine Delahunty, frogblog
*Paul Henry Insults Breakfast Guest - Ana Samways, Spare Room
If I've missed your post please add in it comments.

*Also, there's a Facebook group, if that's how you roll.

Say Nothing and Nothing Changes
1. Make a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA)
You can do this online at
(Thanks to Lex in comments for this info.)

2. Email the head of TVNZ with your views
Here’s TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis’ email address -
(Hat tip to The Standard)

3. Let the relevant Breakfast advertisers know why you won't be watching the show and thus their adverts
  • Heritage Hotels are the main sponsors and their media enquiries should go to
  • Nivea recently gave away some stuff on Breakfast
  • Telstra Clear have an ad on their webpage at the TVNZ site
Anyone have any idea who else advertises on the show?
(Hat tip to Anita at Kiwipolitico)

If you're not sure what to write I recommend the comment thread on Gina's post which has some great points. Even a sentence that says something like you are appalled at Paul Henry's irrelevant comments about Stephanie Mills' appearance and want Henry to apologise publicly/be sacked/whatever, would do the trick. Do remember to include what you want as an outcome in your message.

Meanwhile, over in other parts of Blogland Henry has his defenders (and Mills her nasty detractors):
The Houstache - Cactus Kate (rather unsurprisingly) knights Henry for his actions.
Paul Henry - King of Un-PC - Busted Blonde goes even further

I'll update this all as opportunity arises. *'s indicate newish content - most recently updated 2.20pm Monday 30th March.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Guest post: Paul Henry makes a bad bad choice

We've had quite a lot of contact from readers about this matter and one lovely soul, Gina, has offered up a guest post on the issue.

You really have to watch the video to appreciate what happened here.

For those who can’t get the video working- in summary- Paul Henry and Alison Mau were interviewing Stephanie Mills on Breakfast. After the interview Paul elected to read a fax out from a viewer about how they noticed Stephanie (a woman) has facial hair (who doesn’t?). But Paul makes it’s worse than that - watch the vid.

I can’t presume to know how Stephanie Mills from Greenpeace is feeling about this. Maybe she’s laughing it off somewhere. Maybe she’s devastated.

If you are reading this Stephanie and you feel like you want to take this issue further there are women here who will support you.

All I know is how I felt when I watched this. I started to shake with rage. Paul Henry- you had a choice. You had a choice about whether or not to repeat the crap on the fax.


Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cast your vote for Miss Hamilton 400!

Over the last twenty years or so, beauty pageants of all sort have gone steadily out of fashion, in NZ at least. People have realised that, despite the talk of building women's poise and self-confidence, these events are actually painfully naff.

But without any sense of irony at all, organisers of the Hamilton 400 motor race bring us the Miss Hamilton 400 competition - because no car event can be complete without boobs.

If you click on each 'girl', you get a quote, like 'If I could be anything, I’d be a Ligar (half lion half tiger) cause it sounds cool', or 'Best thing that’s ever happened to me is having a Hair Straightner'. This is to remind us that attractive girls are not smart, and vice versa.

I guess women enter events like this one for a bit of a joke, but I have a strong suspicion that the pageant's spectators will be laughing at these 'girls', not with them. The panel of identically dressed women invites voters to make denigrating comparisons: 'that one's got a big nose', or 'that one's a mutt', or 'why did she even enter?'.

Good on these women for feeling beautiful and confident - but can we not celebrate women's beauty in a more respectful way?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

MCP Watch: Farrar blows the fat lady alert whistle

I feel like David Farrar and I have been playing blog-chicken for a while. Sooner or later one of us was going to have something on our blog that would result in a direct response by post from the other. I wondered if Jacinda Ardern's great guest post earlier this week might have got the usual linkage that Farrar gives to any MP blogging anywhere. As it didn't, I guess I am cracking first.

Because putting up this post yesterday, with the picture he used, was always going to get a comment thread full of misogynists sharing their lady-hate, with some added bonus Fat People Suck on the side.

Some lowlights:
d4j:Is that what the Mob call a hot spare tyre around that things waste line? Yuck bro!

side show bob: She was barking you say, funny, it doesn’t look like she has worms, maybe it’s distemper.

KiwiGreg: Fat, ugly and insane. Any 2 of those 3 will make you hard to employ.

Glutaemus Maximus: Hadn’t realised that it was Mob ‘Bikini Season’

mara: I have unseemly visions of the straining button popping off the waist of the jeans and all the suety stuff falling to kneecaps level. Aren’t policemen supposed to carry blankets in their cars anymore? If not, why not?

Patrick Starr: I’m more stunned that somebody got pissed enough to get it pregnant
The post is ostensibly about whether the woman in question, Victoria Stevens, should be entitled to an Invalid's Benefit. Because we can all make a medical diagnosis just by reading one article about a person, and viewing one photograph, Farrar determines that it's a fail for Work and Income. Steve Pierson at The Standard has called him out on the ridiculousness of this (unfortunately the comment thread is not so enlightened). And when a reader on the Kiwiblog thread does the same, this happens:
billyborker: There are many reasons one can be on an invalid pension, and bot all of them relate to a physical ailment. Perhaps she sufers froma mental disorder, thus making her fair game for the Rottweilers of the Right.

[DPF: There really is no limit to what you will defend is there?]*

There are many many things you can be on an Invalid's Benefit for and still be physically active, as Steve and billyborker both mention. The lack of decency on the thread Farrar started shows some serious hate towards not only women, not only those of heavier weight, but also beneficiaries, the poor, parents whose children stuff up, and generally anyone who isn't in a high tax bracket. There's a total lack of compassion or understanding, from most commenters, of how someone can end up on a benefit, or involved in crime, or the extreme stress of facing the fact your son is on trial for murder. (I'm not offering excuses; I believe that if we can't understand why someone is doing what they are doing then we will fail to come up with any effective way to change that behaviour.)

Farrar's been running Kiwiblog for a long time now, and he knows well what to expect in his comment section. Rather than write a post about what Victoria Stevens had done, why she was in court, he focused on her beneficiary status, and put up a picture bound to result in a comment thread full of nasty comments about her size. Sad, sad, sad.

* This indicates that Farrar edited billyborker's comment to add this bit in himself.