Just because a bloke is a radio host does not mean he should be taken seriously.
To the contrary, anything and everything your typical radio host says should be dismissed as grist for the mill of entertaining and amusing an audience of people who can’t afford television sets.
Hence Alf is astonished to find how much excitement has been generated by a BBC radio host by name of Toby Foster.
As things turn out, this feller tells us he was “just having a bit of a laugh” when he slagged Kiwis as “crazy” and “boring” and said that New Zealand had “sod all” except for earthquakes on his breakfast radio programme on Monday.
BBC Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster had a rant after wrongly reporting that an Australian woman, who survived a plunge into Africa’s crocodile-infested Zambezi River when her bungy cord snapped, was Kiwi.
He said yesterday: “It was quarter to nine on a Monday morning, I was just having a bit of a laugh.”
So how does Toby Foster get his laughs?
Well, it seems he said Kiwis turned to extreme sports to spice up their boring lives.
“Of course New Zealand people do a lot of bungy jumping and we’re told it’s because they’ve got such wonderful scenery and such great bungy.
“But it’s not, what New Zealand has got is sod all. Nothing there, there’s nothing there.”
Foster said the best the country had to offer was Christchurch. “And even that had an earthquake.”
To further demonstrate his credentials as a clown, and maybe a dimwit, he identified the Australian bungy jumper, who suffered cuts and bruises from the fall, as a New Zealander, and said she deserved everything that was coming to her.
It seems to Alf he has several counterparts in this country – the name Michael Laws springs to mind – with a similar gift for rankling some members of their audience with provocative remarks.
And so inevitably we hear that Foster’s comments have caused a stir in Britain, with many hitting back over his rant.
David Way commented on nzherald.co.nz: “I only live 40 miles from Sheffield, and believe me it is one of the worst places to go in England.”
While Alan Carter, from Yorkshire but who now lives in Tauranga, said the New Zealand Ambassador should demand an apology from the Sheffield radio host.
“Another saddo comedian trying to be controversial and funny at the same time. I am a proud Kiwi, Yorkshireman and this fool is not fit to be one of us.”
But Foster has admitted he has never been to New Zealand and knew little about the country and has scant knowledge of it.
“I understand you have a very vibrant comedy show in your main village, but apart from that I know nothing about it.”
Even if he had been here and did know something about its scenery – what’s the big deal?
But nah. Foster’s fellow Britons have apologised for his behaviour.
“I would like to apologise for my fellow countryman’s rant and can assure you that his point of view is held by a very small minority indeed,” Anthony Pringle emailed.
“Not only is New Zealand the most beautiful country I have ever visited, its people are very friendly, and quite frankly, I never have enough time to do everything I want when I am there. I would much rather visit New Zealand than Sheffield.”
And Alf would much rather live in New Zealand than in Sheffield, although having said that, he is very particular about exactly where he wants to live.
Yep, it’s Eketahuna.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t take too much pleasure from the Pringle feller’s remarks about our being the most beautiful country he has visited where the people are very friendly.
Obviously he did not encounter the young tosser who has been charged with a brutal attack on a five-year-old girl at a Turangi campground.
Nor, presumably, did Pringle encounter the irate motorist who punched an American cyclist in a road rage attack in Wellington.
And nor did he visit Wairoa, where community leaders insist their town is safe for tourists after the alleged robbery of a visitor by youths dressed in gang colours on Wednesday.
To sum up, Toby Foster says he did not intend to be taken seriously with his remarks about us, and we should believe him. Chances are he had over-indulged in a certain Aussie beer product with the same name.
On the other hand, this country of ours is not Paradise, although Eketahuna comes close.