30 Jun 2014

Mayor defends spend-up on 'shackles'

6:29 pm on 30 June 2014

Dunedin's mayor is defending his decision to spend nearly $3900 of ratepayers' money on what he thought were 19th century shackles for Maori prisoners.

Dave Cull.

Mayor Dave Cull. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

They turned out later to have been animal leg irons.

Dave Cull told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday the council decided to buy them to take them off the market before they could be auctioned, as local Maori were very sensitive about the sale.

"We didn't have time to get definitive advice. I had been in contact with a local Otakou runanga who have associations with the Taranaki people.

"They all said if there's any possibility that these were used on our tupuna (ancestors), we'd feel very aggrieved if they were just hocked off on the market or went overseas. So I stepped in."

Mr Cull said he would like the seller to examine his conscience about this.