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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
'Sorry not enough' in NZ race row
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes has apologised for his racist remarks
New Zealand's race relations commissioner Joris de Bres has branded as "insufficient" apologies from a broadcaster who racially abused the head of the United Nations.

Paul Holmes repeatedly called Kofi Annan a "cheeky darkie" on his radio programme last week.

A major sponsor of a television programme Holmes also hosts said it was pulling out of its contract to back the show.

Mr de Bres admitted that some New Zealanders held racist views.

"There are people in New Zealand who have welcomed what he said."

There is here a group of people who undoubtedly hold such views - it is a problem
Joris de Bres
Race relations commissioner
"They are not a majority but there is here - as there are in most countries - a group of people who undoubtedly hold such views," he told the BBC on Tuesday.

"It is a problem, and it is particularly important to me that the media play a role that is intolerant of racism, and that actively promotes tolerance," he said.

He dismissed Holmes's two public apologies as inadequate.

"I felt that the apologies themselves were insufficient to reassure the public," he said.

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand said on Monday that it would withdraw sponsorship of Holmes's television programme.

Managing director John Leighton called the Annan comments "completely unacceptable", the Associated Press reported.

Resignation call

On Tuesday, a group of 54 academics called on Holmes to resign.

It was the shock end of the spectrum - it was a bit mad probably
Paul Holmes
He was forced to evacuate his studio 15 minutes before the end of his show the day after his anti-UN tirade because of a bomb threat.

A caller had phoned the NewstalkZB station warning a bomb would go off if Holmes was not taken off the air, according to local media.

Holmes' remarks about Mr Annan have been roundly condemned by listeners, the country's prime minister and race relations groups.

Holmes told his morning show audience: "That Kofi Annan, I've got to say to you, has been a very cheeky darkie overnight."

Later he apologised and insisted he was not a racist.

"I should not have said what I did. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was the shock end of the spectrum; it was a bit mad probably," he said.

Holmes is one of New Zealand's highest-profile and highest paid broadcasters.




SEE ALSO:
NZ radio host in Annan race row
25 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
NZ tackles growing racism
29 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Fears for New Zealand's Asian gamblers
29 May 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: New Zealand
08 Jul 03  |  Country profiles


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