Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins has called a woman's concerns about the transgender community "distasteful and repugnant" after her submission to the city council.
Dunedin nurse Jennifer Scott was concerned about transgender women using the female changing rooms at Moana Pool.
She asked for the council to ensure designated gender-based private areas, such as changing rooms and toilets, would be upheld in all facilities funded or owned by the council.
After her submission, Hawkins, who appeared shaken, told Scott her submission was "hard to listen to, and it was at very least distasteful, if not repugnant".
He told her he was proud to be part of an organisation that supported groups in the community and was inclusive of who they were.
Hawkins said Scott's words were harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.
Councillor Lee Vandervis requested a point of order and said the forum was not an appropriate place for Hawkins' personal views.
He said it was the job of the council to listen.
After a small argument between the two, deputy mayor Christine Garey did not uphold Vandervis' point, prompting a laugh from him.
Councillor Jules Radich told Scott he was unaware Moana Pool staff were directing "anatomically male" patrons to use the female-designated changing rooms, and said he agreed the use was inappropriate.
He asked how long the practice had been happening.
Scott said transgender women were being directed to the family changing areas, but if a staff member was not aware of the situation, patrons would sometimes enter the women's changing room.
Hawkins continued to interrupt the exchange and asked whether the councillor had a question, and Radich finished by asking whether Moana Pool needed to establish clear protocols for staff and patrons for the use of gender-based facilities, to which Scott agreed.