New Zealander sorry for calling official 'fat Indian'

Governor General Anand  Satyanand The governor general was described by Mr Laws as "a fat Indian"

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A New Zealand broadcaster who called Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand "a fat Indian" has apologised.

Michael Laws' comments on his radio show last week were strongly condemned by Prime Minister John Key.

Laws is the second broadcaster from New Zealand to be accused of making "racist" remarks.

On Sunday, TVNZ host Paul Henry quit after provoking outrage over his comments about Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Start Quote

I find Michael Laws' comments offensive because they're deeply personal ”

End Quote John Key Prime Minister

On his show last week, Laws compared the governor general to an obese Monty Python character, Mr Creosote, who explodes after eating too much food.

He said Sir Anand's weight seemed "incongruous" on an Indian.

"I mean, we don't all expect Indians to be begging on the streets of New Delhi, but it's like Anand discovered the buffet table at 20 and he's never really left it," the radio host said.

Laws had initially refused to say sorry, but in a statement on Monday he said: "I apologise to the governor general for comments which were, upon reflection, uncharitable and inappropriate."

The prime minister said the remarks were unacceptable.

"I find Michael Laws' comments offensive because they're deeply personal and they're aimed at the governor general in a way that I don't think is appropriate for that office," news agency AFP quoted Mr Key as saying.

On Sunday, Paul Henry, who presented TVNZ's Breakfast programme, resigned after his on-air comments two weeks ago about Mrs Dikshit led to indignation both in New Zealand and in India.

He laughed a number of times as he mispronounced her surname, which sounds closer to "Dixit" in English, and said her name was "appropriate because she's Indian".

Indian officials condemned those remarks as "racist and bigoted".

India's foreign ministry registered a formal protest and New Zealand's government apologised for the remarks.

Mrs Dikshit, who has been overseeing arrangements for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, said Mr Henry's remarks were "not appropriate".

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