The Taupo District Council is in an uproar after a councillor uttered a derogatory racist word during Tuesday's council meeting.

Multiple Code of Conduct complaints has been laid after Councillor John Boddy used the phrase "N***** in the woodpile".

Speaking in the meeting, Boddy said while he was pleased about the zero per cent rates increase, he "was also going to be the ****** in the woodpile..."

"Sorry, the elephant in the room," as he was worried about the council's debt.

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Councillor John Boddy at a public meeting in Taupō last year. Photo / Laurilee McMichael
Councillor John Boddy at a public meeting in Taupō last year. Photo / Laurilee McMichael

The meeting, to adopt the Annual Plan and strike the rates along with other business, was attended by councillors, council staff, press, one member of the public and was also available to view on the council's livestream.

Complaints have been laid against Boddy after he made the comment that was considered to have "extremely inappropriate racial tones".

Mayor David Trewavas said following the comments the councillor's colleagues and staff were in a state of shock and disbelief.

"We were all stunned, absolutely stunned. I was chairing and I thought 'did I hear what I just heard?' and it took a few seconds to gather our thoughts."

He paused the meeting and asked Boddy to apologise, which he immediately did.

Taupo district mayor David Trewavas. Photo / File
Taupo district mayor David Trewavas. Photo / File

One council staff member, head of culture community and heritage Dylan Tahau, left the chamber.

Trewavas then apologised to everybody in the chamber or watching the livestream for Boddy's comments.

He said after the meeting that the comment was "incredibly disappointing and was in no way reflective of who we are as a council, or reflective of our values.

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"It's the worst feeling around the [council] table I've ever experienced, especially with everything going on at the moment."

Boddy left straight after the meeting but Trewavas spoke to him a couple of hours later and was told it was an unintentional slip of the tongue.

Trewavas said it was very disappointing given the work the council had done to build relationships in the community.

"I have personally apologised to [Ngāti Tūwharetoa paramount chief] Sir Tumu te Heuheu who we have a formal relationship with and a huge amount of respect for.

"It also detracts from the good work of the council in achieving a zero percent rates increase."

Official complaints had been lodged from all the other councillors present at the meeting, staff and council chief executive Gareth Green and legal advice was now being sought on the next steps with regard to the investigation, Trewavas said.

Boddy has been asked not to attend any council meetings or join any council-related activities until the investigation is concluded.

"Councillors have asked me to ask him to go away and reflect on things," Trewavas said.

"We will go through this investigation process and determine the future from there."

When contacted, Boddy said he was unable to comment.

In 2011 Whangārei Mayor Morris Cutforth apologised for using the expression '******* in the woodpile' during a council meeting.

He said at the time it was a result of spontaneity, political naivete and lapses of judgement.

Cutforth said the expression "******* in the woodpile'' had come to mind while he was trying to explain some difficulties the council was having.

It was an old family saying and not something intended to be offensive, he said.

On reflection, he realised that the use of such an "archaic expression'' was not appropriate in today's society.

"In a public situation, I would never, never use it because I do know that the word ****** is not acceptable.''