Holmes' Waitangi Day column hits a nerve

Paul Holmes' column has sparked heated debate.
Photo / APN
Paul Holmes' column has sparked heated debate. Photo / APN

Broadcaster Paul Holmes has fired a huge debate by tearing into Maori radicals and suggesting New Zealand should replace its national day, Waitangi Day, with Anzac Day in a Weekend Herald column.

Under the heading 'It's time to cancel our repugnant national holiday', Holmes wrote yesterday that the day was dominated by a "group of hateful, hate-fuelled weirdos who seem to exist in a perfect world of benefit provision".

The strongly-worded opinion column drew hundreds of responses to the New Zealand Herald website, www.nzherald.co.nz, dozens of letters to the editor of the paper and was a hot topic on social media like Twitter.

Holmes said Waitangi Day was "repugnant".

"It's a ghastly affair. As I lie in bed on Waitangi morning, I know that later that evening, the news will show us irrational Maori ghastliness with spitting, smugness, self-righteousness and the usual neurotic Maori politics, in which some bizarre new wrong we've never thought about will be lying on the table."

The man who sparked a race row in 2003, when he referred to then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a "cheeky darkie", went on to say, "it's a bullshit day, Waitangi.

"Never mind the child stats, never mind the national truancy stats, never mind the hopeless failure of Maori to educate their children and stop them bashing their babies. No, it's all the Pakeha's fault."

His sentiments found favour with hundreds who responded.

Typical of the responses was this, to the website, from Jack: "Some of our family visited Waitangi this year and it was a horrible experience. Angry, disaffected Maori feeding half truths and fabricated stories to a younger generation who in turn will grow up even more ignorant, sullen and belligerent."

But there was much vitriol against Holmes' views, with several formal complaints coming to the newspaper's website.

On Twitter, Brendan Schenk made his feelings clear. "I've never cared much for Paul Holmes, but after reading his Waitangi Day column I wouldn't mind him being thrown under the bus."

- Herald on Sunday

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