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Is New Zealand too politically correct? Facebook reacts to Roger Sutton's 'sweetie' resignation

Sexual harassment in the workplace is no trivial issue, but after yesterday's resignation of Roger Sutton, the question remains - where did he actually cross the line?

Roger Sutton resigns as CERA head. Source: 1 NEWS

The CEO of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority quit amidst accusations he sexually harassed a female staffer, despite a State Services Commission inquiry recommending he not be sacked.

The complainant and details of the complaint are unknown, but Mr Sutton spoke yesterday about "inappropriate joking" and calling women at work "honey and sweetie".

ONE News' Facebook readers quickly weighed in - most suggesting the remarks were "no big deal."

Among 700 comments, the most liked came from Emma Raphael with nearly 300 likes: "Why do we have to read more into things and create problems from things that are NO BIG DEAL ! And if you are the type that think that talk is sexist, then best you find a job somewhere else, with your same like-minded sad team mates. Lighten up."

"This world has become to PC Crazy. It appears now if a woman wants to get rid of her boss all she has to do is claim sexual harassment. It's become a complete joke," said Bill Guy, his comment also garnering over 200 likes.

"PC gone Mad !!! what the heck is this world coming too, ridiculous !!" said Sharon Creed,

Delwyn Pauling also weighed in: "Seriously??!! When is everyone gonna stop sweating the small stuff and actually worry about things that matter. PC nonsense is so completely out of hand and seems to get worse on a daily basis. People look for problems where there aren't any. Get over it!!"

Mr Sutton's wife, Jo Malcolm, was tearful yesterday as she seemingly agreed with the 'too PC' brigade.

She was baffled that his "hugs and jokes" have been misinterpreted, saying Mr Sutton was simply a "touchy-feely" person.

However, Pamela Harnden went against the majority, slamming Mr Sutton's remarks: "It's not sexist it is patronising," she said.

Sarah Greenwood agreed: "It reduces you to being all soft and fluffy, to be called 'love' suggests that you are not on equal terms for ability to do a job. If it was a term of respect or a compliment then men would say the same thing to other men. In 21st Century, professional & intelligent workspaces, this is no longer acceptable!"

Mr Sutton yesterday apologised for any wrongdoing.

"I've never meant any harm, I've worked my guts out for the last three years and I'm sorry for what's happened," he said.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie confirmed the report did not recommend dismissal, but says he has accepted Mr Sutton's resignation and respects his decision to step down, adding that it was "a very difficult call to make for someone who is so committed to the Canterbury community".