'Win a wife' competition sparks outrage

A radio competition offering listeners the chance to "win a wife" has appalled a former MP who is calling for it to be pulled. 

The winner of MediaWorks' The Rock promotion will fly to the Ukraine for 12 nights, be given $2000 spending money, and be able to choose a bride from an agency.

The station says it won't offer the opportunity to just anybody and plans to "weed out the no-hopers and time-wasters" with its application form and various psychological tests.

"If you're interested in holy matrimony with a potentially hot foreign chick, fill it out to the best of your abilities," it says on its website.

However, former Green MP and social activist Sue Bradford slammed the contest.

"It is unusual and somewhat disturbing that a commercial entity would commercialise what should be one of the most meaningful human relationships and actually offer it as a prize for a radio show," she told NZPA.

"It's really taking commercial radio to new depths."

When asked if the contest should be pulled, she said: "Absolutely".

She was also disturbed by a recent Lion Red print advertisement, which encouraged men to drink beer with their mates and avoid their wives, she said.

Ms Bradford said The Rock's competition, alcohol ads, and Prime Minister John Key's recent labelling of actress Elizabeth Hurley as "hot", signified a cultural shift in New Zealand.

"It feels like there's a zeitgeist around right now, which obviously the alcohol companies are picking up on, the Prime Minister is picking up on, and this particular radio station is picking up on," she said.

Such advertising and promotions took New Zealand back to a "Once Were Warriors psychology", where men got drunk and came home and abused their wives.

"It's like there's this encroachment of 'laddism' and chauvinism and misogyny which seems to be pervading our media more and more."

The promotion began on Monday and ends on February 28.

The winner will choose a lady from the Endless Love Agency, which says on its website it offers "beautiful genuine Ukraine ladies looking for love and marriage with Kiwi men".

Five finalists will be subjected to character assessment from friends and family and psychometric testing and suitability for marriage testing by a psychologist appointed by MediaWorks.

The prize does not include travel for the Ukraine woman to come to New Zealand.

The Rock programme director, Brad King, told NZPA it had received a "massive reaction" from all over the country.

"Some people think it's a little stupid, others see it as what it is, a tongue in cheek idea that gives someone the opportunity of a lifetime to travel on an all expenses paid trip to the Ukraine," he said.

He would not say whether the station had received any complaints.

"We like to have a bit of a laugh and not take things too seriously, so rather than playing 'cupid' we decided we would play 'stupid' on this, and send a listener over to the Ukraine with the chance of finding a connection."

The Rock had the largest number of male listeners in the country, he said.

"At the end of the day, it's up to both people if they decide to get married and return to New Zealand. We're not actually marrying anyone or bringing women back to New Zealand."

The Broadcasting Standards Authority said today it had not received any complaints about the promotion.

However, a spokeswoman said formal complaints must be lodged in writing with the broadcaster first.

Broadcasters had 20 working days to answer formal complaints and then, if the complainant wished, they could refer their complaint to the BSA for an independent review of the broadcaster's decision, she said.

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