The media loves giving racists a platform

With racists consistently championed in NZ & golliwogs in high demand, we've got a long way to go


New Zealand is often painted as this sort of utopia of beautiful environments and racial harmony.

The fact is, New Zealand is polluted as all hell and we’re as racist as they come. We can’t help it. We’re stuck in it, and we keep having the same conversations again and again and again. I was reminded of this when I walked into a small store in the tiny New Zealand town of Woodville yesterday, and was presented with this:

My friend went and talked to the owner, who said he’d keep selling his golliwog dolls until they were outlawed. He then went and got a white doll to prove that it “wasn’t racist.” If you don’t understand why golliwogs are a problem, I’m sick of explaining it about as much as I am seeing them sold all around Aotearoa.

As I left Woodville — marvelling at the fact these are brand new golliwogs (someone is making plenty of money selling them) — I became aware that one of New Zealand’s most pathetic radio stations (run by one of New Zealand’s biggest media players, Mediaworks) aired one of its most racist diatribes to date on Tuesday.

It was documented over on Twitter by a listener who was as shocked as many of us. This is what a man called Richard said on air, broadcast across New Zealand:

“This notion that Maori are victims… they’re victims of their own genetic background. They are genetically predisposed to crime, alcohol, and underperformance educationally. They are a stone age people from a stone age culture and I am not interested one bit, and neither have my children been interested, in their stone age culture.”

There is a world in which Richard believed what he said, and there is a world where he had a psychotic break. There is a world where Richard was doing some kind of lame prank, and there was a world where Richard believed every point he made. None of that is good.

But that’s almost not the point. The point is: the host of the show, John Banks, didn’t interject to disagree with any of it. They didn’t boot Richard off-air. They just let Richard finish his thoughts. Finally though, the host did decide to step in:

“Well just a minute…”

Finally John Banks had cut Richard off. But it turns out he wasn’t cutting him off to stop him, he’d cut in to agree:

“Well just a minute… your children need to get used to their stone age culture because if their stone age culture doesn’t change, these people will come in through your bathroom window.”

Exactly” said Richard.

Exactly” said John.

Well fuck me, and fuck Magic Talk Radio and its bosses at Mediaworks who’ve actively cultivated an environment where that was allowed to happen.

I tweeted an angry Tweet (as I tend to do), because it’s just so embarrassing living in a country where giant media players encourage racism and keep it alive and well.

One of their biggest hosts on Magic Talk is Sean Plunket, who is seemingly encouraged to be as offensive as humanly possible — which isn’t too difficult for an old, angry white man. He’s a good broadcaster — good voice, fairly quick on his feet. He’s also a fuckwit. Like John Banks.

Back in 2018, Sean told someone to shut up because they were a “recent arrival” to New Zealand:

Last year he saw his employer Mediaworks fined for his racist views:

In its ruling, the authority said broadcasters required “a high level of condemnation, often with an element of malice or nastiness” to breach the standard. It concluded Plunket exceeded that standard with aggressive questioning, insinuations the iwi were “bullies”, and in particular his suggestion they did not care about child abuse.

When he’s not saying racist stuff, Sean is being shitty to the deaf community, lashing out at various LGBTQI+ matters, or when he’s run out of material he stands up for Harvey Weinstein.

But Mediaworks keeps him, because — I dunno? He is white man with loud offensive opinions I guess? And that… is cool because New Zealand is pretty racist and likes listening to him? I assume that’s the case, as they wouldn’t keep him on board. And they certainly wouldn’t give airtime to John Banks.

And who is John Banks? That would be Auckland’s former mayor. He’s been racist for ages. As this article on The Spinoff noted, Banks was using that “coming through the window” scaremongering bullshit line a decade ago:

“If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Māori men in South Auckland, the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our window…”

So of course, being a massive racist meant John Banks was the perfect person for Mediaworks to hire to fill in a spot on Magic Talk.

As for the fallout from the racist broadcast? Well, lefty types kicked up a storm on Twitter — including myself.

Most hosts on Magic Talk were silent — except for this one, Ryan Bridge.

What Ryan had to say started off okay, with this:

“The reason I am posting in not particularly pleasant […] the listener said something that made my skin crawl. It was blatantly racist…”

He then went on to note that it was problematic the caller wasn’t challenged or debated, and made it clear he — and other hosts — didn’t share the callers views. Then he said something that sort of made his whole rant seem naff as all hell:

I don’t even think John Banks subscribes to those views.

What? Um - I believe John Banks’ exact words were: “Your children need to get used to their stone age culture because if their stone age culture doesn’t change, these people will come in through your bathroom window.He literally subscribed to the words the caller had just expressed.

So yeah, Magic Talk host John Banks definitely agreed. And then Ryan went on to finish with something that made my skin crawl: “You are most welcome, as always, as you do, to call my show and debate whatever it is you want to debate.”

You know what? Fuck that.

This is why talkback is morally bankrupt and why Magic Talk should be flushed down the drain. There’s a culture there that loves stirring shit up, because that just generates more calls, and that generates more content for Magic Talk, which gives more room for ads. It’s the case with most talkback shows in New Zealand and around the world.

But Magic Talk seems to have perfected the art of being true bottom feeders, by simply kicking off discussion with the most offensive, backwards, stupid shit.

Yesterday afternoon Mediaworks fired John Banks, who was filling in on someone else’s slot. He was actually filling on on Peter Williams’ slot, who is a climate change denier. Yeah, most of them are idiots.

But they were forced to fire Banks. They only did this after Kiwibank, Vodafone and TradeMe pulled advertising. That only happened because someone listening hit “record” on their phone and called them out. If it was any other day the whole thing would have slid by, as it does all the time on this hellscape of a station. Because the station doesn’t care, and its typical audience doesn’t care either.

Because that’s the only thing that talks with the morons who keep Magic Talk alive: money.

Meanwhile, Banks made it clear the next day that he wasn’t being racist.

“I also made some generic negative statements about Māori people and practices that could have been misconstrued as racist. And I apologise for that, it’s not my intention. I’m not racist. I’m not racist.”

There is this crazy thing certain people still don’t seem to realise: when you say a bunch of racist stuff, you are racist. You are a racist. You can listen to the racist broadcaster here:

John Banks is racist as all hell — always has been. I know this, Mediaworks knows this, New Zealand knows this. It’s not a shock. And yet over the years we keep paying him and giving him a platform to be racist.

This radio station has been allowed to grow and foster and encourage a racist listenership for years — and until advertisers pull ads, they couldn’t care less. They’ve developed a workplace and a brand that is sick. What happened yesterday — they are a stone age people from a stone age culture”doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Mediaworks created and fostered this mindnumpingly throwback radio station, to keep a stupid racist New Zealand happy. The culture that allowed this to happen wasn’t magic’d up out of thin air. It’s been grown and cultivated for years.

Golliwogs and racist radio — it’s embarrassing to live in New Zealand sometimes. The best thing Magic Talk could do would be to go and die in hole.


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PS: If you feel strongly about this, you can make a complaint to Mediaworks here. After they fob you off by going “we fired him, so shut up” you can go to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. It happened on Peter Williams’ slot, 9am-12pm on Tuesday 26th. Get them fined. Make them start to think “maybe we fostered some bad shit here, for fucking years and years.” If you want to share this newsletter - this is the link:

Wherever you are in the world — you will have your own cases of this. Don’t stay silent. It’s unacceptable. It’s 2021. We are better than this.