Ukrainians offended by 'win a wife' competition

By Hayden Donnell, NZPA

Stop the Rock's 'Win a Wife' campaign on Facebook.
Stop the Rock's 'Win a Wife' campaign on Facebook.

A radio promotion offering the chance to win a 'hot' wife from Ukraine has offended New Zealand immigrants from the eastern European country.

The Rock radio station's 'Win a Wife' promotion offers the chance to fly to Ukraine for 12 nights, be given $2000 spending money, and choose a bride from an agency.

The station says it won't offer the opportunity to just anybody and plans to "weed out the no-hopers and time-wasters" with its application form and various psychological tests.

"If you're interested in holy matrimony with a potentially hot foreign chick, fill it out to the best of your abilities," it says on its website."

Ukrainian Association of New Zealand chairwoman Nataliya Poshyvaylo-Tolwer said she had contacted the Ukrainian Embassy in Canberra to complain about the promotion and received word it would be following up on the issue with New Zealand officials.

Her association has also lodged complaints with Mediaworks and the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

It was a "shameful promotion stunt" which promoted the idea Ukraine is a place to go to "pick up wives", she said.

"It is very offensive.

"I am a tall blonde woman and I hold a public speaking job and the first thing I get asked 90 per cent of the time is 'did you get here by the internet'. It doesn't matter that I have a degree in business economics or all my other achievements. This is just perpetuating that stereotype.

"We have jobs. We are contributing to New Zealand society."

The small size of the 700-strong New Zealand-Ukrainian community made it a "soft target" for The Rock, she said.

"It's going too low. We can't defend ourselves. It's treating us like second-class citizens."

Facebook users have also taken action against the promotion, running a campaign to get companies to pull advertising from the Rock over the promotion.

"Stop the Rock's 'Win a Wife' campaign", which was set up today, has so far attracted 298 "likes".

It has published a letter from Harvey Norman, which said the retailer does not support the competition, despite advertising on the station.

ASB Bank said it had no association with the 'Win a Wife' promotion and would not target advertising to support it.

MPs have also come out against the contest, with Labour's Women's Affairs spokeswoman Carol Beaumont saying she was "appalled" by the promotion.

The idea of winning a wife treated women as commodities and marriage as a transaction rather than a relationship, she said.

"It is a reminder that there is still an attitude towards women in New Zealand that is deeply troubling - that they are commodities to buy and to own."

Former Green MP and social activist Sue Bradford earlier slammed the contest, saying it should be pulled.

"It is unusual and somewhat disturbing that a commercial entity would commercialise what should be one of the most meaningful human relationships and actually offer it as a prize for a radio show," she told NZPA.

When asked if the contest should be pulled, she said: "Absolutely".

Ms Bradford said The Rock's competition, alcohol ads, and Prime Minister John Key's recent labelling of actress Elizabeth Hurley as "hot", signified a cultural shift in New Zealand.

She add it felt as if there was a zeitgeist around which alcohol, the Prime Minister and The Rock were picking up on.

The promotion began on Monday and ends on February 28.

The winner will choose a woman from the Endless Love Agency, which says on its website it offers "beautiful genuine Ukraine ladies looking for love and marriage with Kiwi men".

The prize does not include travel for the Ukrainian woman to come to New Zealand.

The Rock programme director Brad King told NZPA it had received a "massive reaction" from all over the country.

"Some people think it's a little stupid, others see it as what it is, a tongue-in-cheek idea that gives someone the opportunity of a lifetime to travel on an all expenses paid trip to the Ukraine," he said.

He would not say whether the station had received any complaints.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority said earlier in the week it had not received any complaints about the promotion.

However, a spokeswoman said formal complaints must be lodged in writing with the broadcaster first.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Oct 2014 22:46:40 Processing Time: 233ms