John Banks has been removed from his radio show after a “blatantly racist” incident yesterday where a caller said Māori were “genetically predisposed to crime, alcohol and under performance educationally”.
The former Auckland mayor and MP will be taken off air from next week, Magic Talk confirmed, with Banks also apologising on air today.
"I didn't pick it up at the time, here when you're broadcasting, you're talking to producers, you're talking to bosses," Banks said.
"I spoke to people later in the show who disagreed with the man and I picked it up then, however this wasn't enough to demonstrate that his comments were wrong and racist."
The incident led NZ Cricket to say it would review its broadcast relationship with Magic Talk if strong action was not taken.
Vodafone, Kiwibank, Trade Me, and Spark pulled advertising with the network after the talkback caller said Māori are “a stone-age people” during the call with Banks.
"The talkback environment can be robust and opinionated, however we recognise comments broadcast yesterday during a call discussing the departure of Oranga Tamariki’s CEO were hurtful," Magic Talk wrote on Twitter.
Banks interrupted the caller, saying “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 through your bathroom window”.
Banks’ fellow Magic Talk host Ryan Bridge said the call was “blatantly racist” and made his “skin crawl”.
“It was factually incorrect and it wasn’t really challenged in the call as it should have been, I think.”
Vodafone, Kiwibank, and Trade Me announced they were withdrawing advertising with the radio station on social media.
“Yes, we're suspending advertising with Magic Talk, and we will be discussing our longer term approach with our partners,” Vodafone tweeted.
“We condemn racism in any form. We've removed our ads on the Magic Talk website and we'll be talking directly with MediaWorks on how they could better encourage a diverse and inclusive NZ,” Kiwibank wrote in a reply to a Twitter.
Trade Me wrote in reply to a tweet that the company had pulled advertising while it looked into the incident.