Backlash for Pacific people are ‘leeches’ comment

du Plessis-Allan

A New Zealand Journalist Heather du Plessis-Allan has come under fire for saying Pacific people are “leeches” on New Zealand.

During a Wellington broadcast of Newstalk ZB, the host discussed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to visit Nauru.

Du Plessis Allan referred to the island as a “hell hole”, and said it was not worth attending the Forum anyway because the Pacific Islands “don’t matter.”

“They are nothing but leeches on us. The Pacific Islands want money from us,” she told listeners.

Veteran Pacific Journalist Michael Field in a comment on Stuff said: “Heather du Plessis Allan and her employers are heading to the Broadcasting Standards Authority after she declared Pacific Islanders are (sic) “leaches.”

Samoan-born New Zealand actor and Sunday News columnist Oscar Kightley said the radio station “owes our Pasifika neighbours an apology” for du Plessis-Allan’s comments.

On Twitter, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said: “I’ve been thinking about this since I heard @HDPA’s comments on @MediawatchNZ this morning. Hey Heather – words REALLY do matter.

“Check this out and maybe think twice about calling people leeches, or cockroaches, or other non-human things next time.”

“How far can you take offensiveness and utter stupidity?” actor Sam Neill asked his 247,000 Twitter followers.

“I think the 300,000 Pasifika people in New Zealand would disagree,” said Glenn McConnell in an opinion piece on Stuff.

“I think the businesses that rely on Pacific trade would beg to differ. The fact that we are living on a collection of Pacific islands may throw a spanner in her Pacific Islands ‘don’t matter’ theory.”

He continued: “New Zealanders have invaded and exploited Pacific Islands, including Nauru, Niue, the Cook Islands and Samoa. Those nations have been more than generous. It’s an important point which du Plessis-Allan omitted from her argument.”

But, while on air last Tuesday, du Plessis-Allen said she did not regret what she said.

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News category: Asia Pacific.