A police officer racially abused an Asian security guard in Queenstown during a drunken night out - the latest in a chain of incidents involving police in the lower South Island.

Police confirmed this week Constable Jason Te Huia is subject to an internal police investigation after pleading guilty to using insulting language - a charge stemming from a racist exchange in Queenstown last year, in which he told a Korean man he "smells Asian like a dog" and had "shoe lace eyes" - but remains employed on restricted duties.

Te Huia was discharged without conviction in May.

It is the latest incident to damage the reputation of Southern police after Jeremy Buis resigned before facing formal action after leading a two-year-long harassment campaign against a Dunedin businessman; the ongoing investigation of another Southland officer for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a woman who sought police assistance; an Otago officer investigated for an alleged off-duty assault; and murder charges being laid against Constable Ben McLean after the death of his estranged wife.


Police Association president Chris Cahill said, while the actions of "bad eggs" marred the reputation of Southern police, it was not indicative of the quality of officers in the district.

His comments came a day after Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham moved to defend the district's officers when it was revealed Buis had resigned this month after remaining on paid leave since February 2015.

Basham slammed Buis' actions as "disgraceful" and said the majority of staff worked "hard every day to provide a quality service to members of the public".

The ruling of Judge Alistair Garland, released yesterday, revealed the offending of Constable Te Huia.

Te Huia verbally abused the victim after he and an associate were denied access to the Sky City Casino due to intoxication about 1.45am on September 3 last year.

The associate argued that the pair were not too drunk to enter the premises, but when security staff would not change their position he turned to leave, the judge's decision said.

"The defendant, who was standing at the top of the stairs, began to abuse the victim in a racial manner," it said.

Te Huia told the Korean security guard: "I can smell you. It smells Asian like a dog. You have shoestring eyes. I see you have no shoe strings in your shoes. Where are your shoe strings? Shoe lace eyes. Slant eyes."


After yelling at the staff member, his associate convinced him to leave.

Te Huia was granted a discharge without conviction. The reasons for that decision were withheld.

Basham said he expected the internal investigation into Te Huia's actions would be completed shortly.

-Otago Daily Times