The code of conduct training to be held for Hamilton City councillors, after two made offensive religious and gay comments last year, has still not taken place.

And one of the complainants says it is a kick in the guts and shows Hamilton City Council is not taking the seriousness of the sexually demeaning comments made to her seriously.

Councillors Mark Bunting and Garry Mallett separately appeared before the council's complaints committee in November last year after members of the public complained about their behaviour.

Hamilton councillor Garry Mallett's
Hamilton councillor Garry Mallett's "limp-wristed" comments in a radio interview landed him in a disciplinary hearing. Photo / NZ Herald

Journalist Angela Cuming took offense to a Newshub video Bunting sent her of two electronic signs that read "Jesus is cuming" and "open your mouth".


Another member of the public complained after hearing a comment Mallett made referring to the term "limp wristed" on Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme.

As a result of the hearings, Bunting was found to have breached the code of conduct policy and resigned from his role as deputy chair of community and services committee and made a public apology. During the hearing, it was recommended elected members attend a workshop covering topics relating to the code of conduct, also known as the code of behaviour.

Mallett was found not to have breached the policy due to the context in which it was said, but was required to attend the code of behaviour workshop.

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But a year on the workshop promised by the council had still not happened, Hamilton City Council's governance unit confirmed.

In a statement, the council said the workshop had initially been referred until review of the Code of Conduct policy was completed in March 2018.

It was then delayed, according to an email from council chief executive Richard Briggs to the Herald earlier this year, until the 10-year plan was signed off in June.

"With the new code now in place and following the recent appointment of the council's Māngai Māori appointees, a workshop for elected Members and external appointees to Council committees is being planned for coming weeks which will also formally fulfil the requirements of the Complaints Committee," the statement said.

Bunting said following the complaint he stood down as deputy chair of the community and services committee and made a written apology. He would also gladly attend the workshop when it was held.

Cuming said she was disappointed, but was not surprised that the workshop had not happened.

"I didn't go through what I did and go through - the harassment and the humiliation from lots of people in the Hamilton community, the abuse I copped, my family copped, my husband copped - for nothing to happen, which is really what is going on.

She had felt heartened by the mayor saying training would be undertaken and had expected it to have occurred within a month of the decision.

"Clearly that hasn't happened and that's an absolute kick in the guts. This is what happens when you have old boys clubs running councils. It's an absolute crying shame that this is a very, very sorry conclusion to a very, very, very bad chapter."

Councillor Angela O'Leary, who complained to the chief executive about Mallett making reference to "fags" and "homos" over pink paper used in a council agenda that sparked further complaints from the public about his language, said it had been her understanding that the training would be specialised and taken by an external person.

"My understanding was that there was a commitment to undertake some training when the incidents occurred and I think the public would be disappointed to learn that hasn't happened."

Councillor Rob Pascoe said he was told by the chief executive in April via email that he was waiting for a quote from an external party to undertake the training. Later in a verbal update he was told the information had been forwarded to the mayor.

The complaints were among six formal complaints heard by the council's Code of Conduct Committee so far this term, according to an Official Information Act request.

Mallett faced a hearing for another gay slur. Councillor Dave Macpherson also appeared before the committee three times for inappropriate online behaviour, for using bad language and aggressive dialogue in a council meeting and for misrepresenting the council's stance on water meters.

The council initially only released information about five complaints due to an "administrative error" in the mayor's office. The sixth complaint was released after the Herald questioned it.

Mayor Andrew King and Mallett did not respond to requests for comment from the Herald.