Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark faces code of conduct investigation over use of racial slur

4:02 pm on 16 April 2024
Incoming Invercargill City mayor Nobby Clark.

Nobby Clark is again facing controversy over his use of a word which is a racial slur. Photo: RNZ/ Tess Brunton

The mayor of Invercargill is describing a code of conduct investigation he is facing as a "distraction he doesn't need".

Nobby Clark has come under fire following an interview he gave comedian Guy Williams on the satirical news show New Zealand Today last month.

During the interview - described as "a train wreck" by one of his elected members - Clark defended previous instances where he has used the n-word, again repeating the slur.

Invercargill city councillor Ria Bond confirmed she was one of two representatives who had laid a complaint against the mayor in relation to the interview.

She said she would not be commenting further as she did not want to muddy the process moving forward.

Clark also confirmed two of his councillors had laid a complaint and that an independent agency from Dunedin would be investigating.

He would not be drawn on whether he felt he had the support of his council.

"This is just part of democracy," he said.

"We're doing some good things in our community but this is a distraction I don't need."

Clark first caused controversy last year when he used the word at an Art Foundation event, supposedly to make a point around "tolerance" and "freedom of expression" within the art world.

He doubled-down on the matter during his appearance on the 21 March episode of New Zealand Today, much to the ire of Williams.

"If you had some rap music that come in, where every second word was n***, would that be okay? Certainly not to me," Clark said.

"Would you allow me to stop that."

Clark claimed to hate the term but again used the slur when citing the name of an Invercargill street gang.

"It's offensive to people."

He also asked Williams if he was homosexual.

"You (Williams) tend to be leaning towards minority groups," Clark proposed.

"I'm not leaning towards," Williams replied.

"Well all right bent over towards them," Clark quipped.

RNZ has requested a copy of the Code of Conduct complaint from the Invercargill City Council.

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