Dunedin mayor urges Strath Taieri Community Board chairperson to resign over racist slur

6:31 pm on 29 August 2023
Dunedin Mayor Elect Jules Radich

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich says he is appalled by the behaviour of Barry Williams, who is chair of the Strath Taieri Community Board. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

An Otago community board chair has been encouraged to resign after using a racist slur against a member of the public.

A code of conduct complaint has been made against Strath Taieri Community Board chair Barry Williams, prompting an independent investigation.

Investigator Steph Dyhrberg concluded that a material breach had happened.

On Tuesday, the Dunedin City Council voted unanimously to uphold her findings and for the mayor to send a letter of censure.

Councillor Lee Vandervis opposed the letter tabled to the meeting from being approved, but all other councillors supported it.

In the letter, Mayor Jules Radich said the council was appalled by Barry Williams' behaviour.

"(It) is a clear breach of the code of conduct and a serious failure to uphold the standard of behaviour expected of an elected community representative."

He noted Williams had apologised, but said it was the minimum he could do.

"We invite you to consider resigning as chair of the Strath Taieri Community Board."

The council said the investigator's report and further details would not be made public to protect the victim's privacy, which was also why the matter was discussed during the public excluded section of Tuesday's meeting.