It's time to take a stand on Paul Henry

01:42, May 23 2014

Okay, I admit it. I was wrong.

Having endured Paul Henry on breakfast television and cheered as he was dispatched to Australia after his outrageous comments about the Governor General and a female activist I didn't want him back on our screens.

But he seemed to have turned a leaf. Having watched the show a few times to review it appeared, finally, Henry had grown up a bit.

I was never going to watch regularly - his puerile sense of humour and his fawning over the likes of John Key just isn't my scene.

But perhaps he had finally turned the corner and become the amazing host that so many people I talk to in real life think?

Yeah, fat chance.


Last Thursday's show, when he picked on a hard-working Parliamentary Services worker and made fun of their job - and more disturbingly the person themselves, was a return to the bad old days.

See, this person was on screen during a Parliamentary session and didn't have a figure like the women Henry presumably thinks of as 'normal'.

Cue giggling and mockery - classic Henry, right down to the sneering emphasis on 'women' as if her figure made it difficult to tell, or indeed as if it mattered in the slightest.

Henry has apologised, of course, defending what he did as 'satirical' and saying it wasn't his intention to offend.

I'm sorry, but to try and put across humour that a teenager would find beneath them as satire is a cop-out. It wasn't satire.

Yes, he made fun of Gerry Brownlee too, but that's different. Brownlee is an elected official, a prime target for satirists since someone first laughed at politicians.

But laughing at Brownlee's weight is as close to satire as my blog is to a Pulitzer Prize. It just doesn't wash.

The offending section seems to have been cut from the on demand version of the show, so at least the two or three of you masochists who choose to go back and watch his shows more than once won't see it again.

It's just not good enough, though.

TV3 knew what they were getting themselves in for when they employed Henry. In fact, I'd say that's the very reason they employed him.

To allow him to pick on someone for a few minutes and then let him off with a 30-second apology isn't good enough. That's TV3 condoning his behaviour and allowing him to continue unabated.

It's the same fingers-in-their-ears approach TVNZ took when Mike Hosking, the scientific genius that he is, told everyone to ignore the IPCC report on global warming because he knows better.

It's hard to draw any conclusion other than our two main television providers are telling all of us that this behaviour is acceptable. It's not.

So, yeah, I was wrong. Wrong to give him another chance. It appears the Paul Henry many of us knew and despised just couldn't stay away.

Perhaps it's time to invoke the three-strike rule for television hosts?