Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler has apologised for forcibly removing a Hawke's Bay Today photographer from his council's building.

Photographer Duncan Brown, who has 30 years' experience, was in the Waipawa building with a reporter covering a story yesterday when Mr Butler approached him and put his hand over the lens of the camera, pushing back the photographer.

Mr Butler was called into the reception area of the council by a staff member alerting him to the situation. Once he came out of his office, Mr Butler demanded Mr Brown leave, without giving an explanation as to why, and kept repeating "please leave".

With his hand on the camera, the mayor pushed Mr Brown back through the front doors of the municipal building.

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Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler (right) forcibly removing Hawke's Bay Today photographer Duncan Brown from his council's building yesterday.
Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler (right) forcibly removing Hawke's Bay Today photographer Duncan Brown from his council's building yesterday.

Later Mr Butler denied he had manhandled Mr Brown, saying he never touched him.

Mr Butler said he was disappointed with what had transpired. He explained his actions, saying he was upset that the reception staff had been caught up in a situation that had nothing to do with them.

Hawke's Bay Today editor Andrew Austin contacted Mr Butler to express his unhappiness with the treatment of his staff member.

"I do not believe the mayor should have behaved in this manner and I told him so," Mr Austin said.

"We will not tolerate our journalists and photographers being treated like this."

"To his credit , Mr Butler did ask me to pass on his apology to Duncan Brown, which I have done.

"Duncan has accepted that apology."