New Zealand anchor who quit gets payout

A NZ television anchor quit after making offensive remarks about Indians.

Auckland: A New Zealand television anchor who quit after making offensive remarks about Indians that sparked a diplomatic row, has reportedly got an exit pay packet of six months.

Though TVNZ is refusing to say whether it gave Paul Henry a payout, the New Zealand Herald on Monday said the likely amount might range from six months pay (about USD 150,000) to more than USD 500,000, to cover the remaining term of his contract.

The newspaper said TVNZ had "trouble dealing with talent".

"At the top level, TVNZ is gradually forgetting how to run old-fashioned current affairs. Henry was encouraged to say what he wanted with few attempts to rein him in," it said.

In comments that sparked a furore, Henry asked Prime Minister John Key if Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander" and if his successor would "look and sound like a New Zealander".

He then deliberately mispronounced Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit`s name. He called her "Dick Shit" and said the name is "so appropriate" because she is Indian.

Many in the media here are furious with Henry. While some said the anchor had been "hard done by", many feel the trouble occurred because he offended a large section of New Zealanders including Indians.

"TVNZ chose to ignore those people and focus on the market of the New Zealander impressed with Henry`s naughty comments," the report said.

New Zealand`s High Commissioner in India Rupert Holborow apologised for Henry`s "racist, insensitive, inappropriate and vulgar" mocking of Dikshit after New Delhi summoned him to make a formal protest.