Building company cops flak over 'racist' advert

A Northland building company sparked outrage with a controversial post on Instagram that locals believe is racist.

The post published by CraftBuild NZ, of Mangawhai, read: "No need to deal with 10 Indians that have no passion or qualifications in the trade, they're all seem to race around in a huge rush getting very little done [sic].

"Here at craftbuild limited you deal directly with the chief owner operator Trade Qualified & licensed Carpenter, minimising lead times, additional cost & potential f*** ups."

After being approached for comment, Mike Watson, who was listed on CraftBuild NZ's Facebook page as the director of the company, sent the Herald a screenshot of a Google search on Wednesday night.

It read: "too many chiefs figure of speech" and displayed the meaning.

The Herald made several attempts to contact Watson for further comment but he did not respond.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon said it was very disappointing to see an example of what he considered to be a Kiwi business using racist and stigmatising language that perpetuated racial and cultural stereotypes.

"The Native American and Indian communities are justified in feeling offended at what appears to be this blatantly racist advertisement. This sort of language is unacceptable and has no place in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Foon said he encouraged the business owner to remove the advertisement and take the time to learn and understand how his actions could have an adverse impact on our diverse communities across the country.

The Instagram post had been active for two months before it was taken down on Wednesday after being hammered by social media users.

Shaiyla Bhana, a Mangawhai local, told the Herald the company's comments were not okay and she couldn't believe it had been up for two months.

"I think it's the kind of comments that make someone judge someone else based on their name and that you can't be a good builder if you're not white and it's so completely wrong."

Bhana said a friend had sent her the post on Wednesday and asked if she knew the owner of the company.

She re-posted the advert on her Instagram page saying: "As an Indian, a Kiwi and a local I am massively disappointed that this is actually a thing ... this disgusting post has been up since November.

"I tagged the company in it and within 10 minutes of me making the story the post had been removed ."

The post which was made on November 1 was removed on Wednesday, and the Instagram account appears to be disabled.

"A friend told me he then made a post on his story saying 'don't people know the saying too many chiefs, not enough Indians' trying to defend himself in what he said and to my mind it completely missed the point."

A New Zealand flooring company which liked the post published an apology saying the advert did not align with its values.

"We are saddened by this and we express our sincere apologies. Look Floors does not stand for this! There is no room for this in our company or in our country."

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