16 Feb 2017

Criticism over apology for te reo Facebook rant

1:03 pm on 16 February 2017

The man who exposed a New Plymouth councillor's social media rant suggesting the Māori language be left to die, says the subsequent apology was disappointing.

Murry Chong

Murray Chong has emailed the people who made formal complaints about his Facebook post and apologised. Photo: Glenn Jeffrey

Murray Chong has emailed the people who made formal complaints about his Facebook post saying he was sorry for the comments and any offence he had caused.

He went on to say the comments were his personal view and had nothing to do with the council.

Taranaki businessman Dinnie Moeahu, who shared Mr Chong's post, said the councillor should have apologised in person.

"I was informed I would be receiving a phone call from councillor Murray Chong and I was actually looking forward to it.

"The best way to deal with things is kānohi ki te kānohi, face to face, and if we were to sit down and have a conversation about it. I mean we're all adults."

Mr Moeahu wouldn't comment further on the nature of the apology.

"The apology is what it is. When I first opened it up there was a whole lot of emotions going through.

"We drew national attention to the issue, there was a huge public outcry and that's the apology so what else can I say? The discipline has happened to Murray Chong and that's it.

"I could give you my personal view but anything I say won't affect on the outcome."

Mr Moeahu extended an invitation to Mr Chong to join him on a marae as his guest to discuss the issues he raised about the Māori language.

"The offer will always be there. We're not about being exclusive. We're always about inclusion as a people. We want people to see from our point of view."

Mr Chong could not be contacted for comment today.

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said Mr Chong had been censured for breaching the council's Code of Conduct.

In particular making public comments likely to cause offence and bringing the council into disrepute.

"Councillor Chong has not been disciplined for expressing a personal opinion. All Councillors are free to express their opinions and at the same time we have all agreed to abide by a Code of Conduct," Mr Holdom said.

He said Mr Chong had accepted this and apologised via email to the five members of the public who formally complained, and that concluded the formal disciplinary process.

Mr Holdom did not offer an opinion on whether an emailed apology was appropriate.

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