Stadium target of 'Nazi' cartoon

A Dunedin city councillor is considering legal options after a cartoon depicting Mayor Peter Chin and pro-stadium councillors as goose-stepping Nazis was published, and sent to Prime Minister John Key.

The cartoon appeared on the Stop the Stadium website yesterday, after being emailed to recipients, including Mr Key, Bill English and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

It showed Mr Chin and pro-stadium city councillors Michael Guest, John Bezett and Neil Collins marching in Nazi uniform, arms raised in a goose-stepping Hitler salute, while Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry crushed opponents in a tank labelled "stadium".

In an email accompanying the cartoon, Dunedin woman Patricia McCarty said she was distributing "my modest cartoon for your amusement", and encouraged recipients to distribute her "heartfelt picture".

Councillors contacted had mixed views, with some saying it deserved only to be ignored, while others found it offensive.

Cr Guest said the cartoon was "particularly nasty", coming just months after he received a photograph of a rifle, with a telescopic sight and silencer, in the mail in February.

"I'm thick-skinned, but it's very unpleasant. Nobody likes to see themselves depicted as a Nazi."

Initially inclined to ignore it, when he learned it had been sent to Mr Key's office, Mr Guest said: "I will have to consider my options.

"I'm not putting up with that."

Mrs McCarty defended her cartoon, saying she was angry at councillors who "bulldozed" the stadium through "just like a bunch of stormtroopers marching over everyone.

"I'm so pleased I have made them annoyed."

Mrs McCarty said she was a Stop the Stadium supporter - but not a member.

Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler was one of those sent the cartoon and its appearance on the website "doesn't bother me", Mrs McCarty said.

Ms Butler also defended the cartoon when contacted, but would not say who placed it on her organisation's website, or whether it would be removed.

She believed it was "mild" compared with the abusive calls, emails and death threats she said she had received in the past few months.

Mr Farry said, when contacted, he found the cartoon "despicable" and believed "any thinking person ... would treat it with the disdain it deserves".

Crs Collins and Bezett had not seen the cartoon yesterday, but Cr Collins said those responsible "are the ones with the problem", while Cr Bezett believed the best response was to laugh it off.

"If they are doing this I feel sorry for them, I guess," he said.

Mr Chin said he did not find it "particularly humorous at all.

"Some people who are of my vintage ... find these kinds of memories offensive," he said.

 

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