Trade Me is calling for its members not to "be dicks" after a flatmate-wanted listing exhibited racism.

The listing, which went online on Monday, called for a flatmate for a four-bedroom house in Avondale.

But along with the fairly standard prerequisites of "clean" and "sharing" the existing tenants stated, "We won't be able to accept people from India (don't like curry) so don't waste your time guys."

After viewing the listing, an appalled Trade Me user contacted the Herald and said he felt the listing was "very inappropriate".


"I am not an Indian, however I feel this is very inappropriate to mention a nationality in a very direct manner which does not reflect the norms and culture of New Zealand," he said.

"I felt down when I saw that."

The user, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had also reported the listing to Trade Me.

Trade Me spokesman Logan Mudge said they had since removed part of the description which they didn't think was necessary.

"Flatmates-wanted ads are tricky as you are able to be very specific about who you want to live with," he said.

"We have some guidelines on our Trust & Safety blog and we have some details on the Human Rights Act in our help section.

"It is important that members listing a room in their house are honest, but we don't want our members to be dicks."

Trade Me received two complaints about the listing. Photo / Trade Me website
Trade Me received two complaints about the listing. Photo / Trade Me website

Mudge said the listing had received two complaints.


"We listen to our members too - we have a Community Watch button at the bottom of every listing, if our community think something on site isn't cool they'll let us know."

Trade Me's Trust & Safety blog has a section titled "How to find a flatmate and not breach the Human Rights Act".

It stated "there are positive characteristics or qualities that are great to include, like 'pays rent on time' or 'good sense of humour', but sometimes there are less-positive things which may not be so great to include".

"One example of when it is legal to discriminate is in instances of shared residential accommodation.

"This means the Act allows you to specify that you'd like a flatmate with certain characteristics, which could discriminate against people who don't share those characteristics," it reads.

"We want you to find the right person for your flat, but we also want to ensure you do this responsibly and respectfully."

It also gives tips on how to craft your flatmate wanted ad in the best way possible, including; using positive and inclusive statements rather than negative ones, not relying on a stereotypes or generalisation, and erring on the side of caution.

The Human Rights Act 1993 states that if you're advertising goods or services on Trade Me, for example listing a job or a rental property, you can't discriminate against people on a number of grounds.

These grounds include; sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, disability, age, political opinion, employment status, family status, or sexual orientation.

However it stated there were a few exceptions to the act. One exception was for shared residential accommodation, such as flatmates-wanted advertisements.