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The Waitaki District Council will ban anyone who makes racist comments on its Facebook page.
On Monday, council communications specialist Lisa Scott posted a photo and message on the council’s Facebook page to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week).
After racist remarks were made in the comments section, the council wanted to make it ‘‘loud and clear’’ racism would not be tolerated, Miss Scott said.
‘‘We refuse to allow intolerance to be spread via our channels,’’ she said.
‘‘If you make racist comments on our social media, you will be banned.’’
Miss Scott said it was only a small minority of people and they were ‘‘old enough to know better’’.
‘‘I find it unbelievable that you would write a racist comment on a council Facebook using your real name,’’ she said.
‘‘I mean, what are you thinking?’’
A lot of people who experienced racism found it difficult to challenge, especially online, Miss Scott said.
‘‘It’s our job to make our page a safe place for the whole community — I’m just not having it,’’ she said.
‘‘If we draw a line in the sand and say that it will not be tolerated, then it gives more people a chance to feel they are in a safe space and they can participate in local government without this rubbish happening that does not belong there.’’
She hoped the council’s stance would spark people’s intuition to ‘‘just not do it’’ again.
‘‘What possible place does [racism] have in any conversation about council day-to-day business?