‘Foot in mouth’ for mayor
It was foot in mouth for South Waikato District Mayor Neil Sinclair last week when he referred to Putaruru people as being ‘‘a bit slower.’’
The comment came during a public meeting held by the council to discuss the long term plan.
While being questioned by a ratepayer, Mr Sinclair said: ‘‘I’m from Putaruru and we’re a bit slower back there.’’
Kaumatua Carle Hakaria took the floor after the mayor made the comment.
‘‘I don’t know how the people from Putaruru and Waotu feel but I feel saddened by your statement about Putaruru people being a bit slow; you know that’s not a laughing matter,’’ Mr Hakaria said.
‘‘ I can assure you,’’ Mr Sinclair said to Mr Hakaria, ‘‘the Putaruru people are so big we can carry things there and having lived there for 50 years we actually handle that pretty well, can’t we?’’
Council staff assured residents that the issue was ‘‘a joke’’.
One council representative went further, saying the mayor was referring to himself.
South Waikato News spoke to representatives from the Putaruru League Club who were concerned by the mayor’s comments.
‘‘I’m angry,’’ Putaruru resident Krystal Dasilva said, ‘‘It was degrading and pathetic.’’
Putaruru stalwart Mat Tai said the mayor’s comments were off.
‘‘He shouldn’t put the rest of us Putaruru people in the same box as him. He may be a bit slow but the rest of us in Putaruru are all good.’’