Hamilton City Council's elected members had only just completed a two-hour training session on appropriate behaviour at a cost of $5520 to ratepayers when two more councillors were slammed for insensitive actions and comments.

Councillors James Casson and Siggi Henry simultaneously offended the public less than two months after the session dubbed Diversity Awareness run by Auckland-based consultancy Diversity Works was held for elected members and management on February 18.

Casson - who was one of three councillors who did not attend the workshop - has been slammed for comments he made on Friday on Facebook about New Zealand's reactions to the terrorist attacks in Christchurch. The council has so far received eight formal complaints about him but will not take further action because it is not a breach of the code of conduct.

A second councillor - Henry who did attend the training - has also apologised for offending members of the autistic community when she wore an anti-vaccine T-shirt to an autism awareness and fundraising event Light up the Lake at Hamilton Lake on Friday night.


Hamilton City Council decided to hold a session relating to the code of conduct when councillors Garry Mallett and Mark Bunting made offensive religious and gay comments in 2017.

The Herald revealed in November last year that the workshop had never eventuated, bitterly disappointing one of the complainants who had been waiting a year for it take place. It was finally held in February.

A spokesperson for mayor Andrew King's office said the training was held to ensure city leaders and senior management were aware of what was appropriate conduct when engaging with different members of the community.

The session started with looking at what diversity, equality, equability and fairness were before moving onto the correct language to use when referring to the LGBQ+ community as well as ethnic communities. It also explored unconscious bias.

The session cost $5520 inc GST plus mileage from Auckland.

Elected members who attended the Diversity Awareness Training:
Mayor Andrew King
Deputy Mayor Gallagher
Cr Leo Tooman
Cr Angela O'Leary
Cr Mark Bunting
Cr Garry Mallett
Cr Rob Pascoe
Cr Siggi Henry
Cr Paula Southgate
Cr Macpherson (Late)

Cr James Casson
Cr Geoff Taylor
Cr Ryan Hamilton