Most read: Rotorua car salesmen stood down over racist 'clever Māori' remarks; auto dealer says team 'devastated'

This story was first published on Wednesday June 13

Two Rotorua car salesmen have been punished by their employer after a racist message was left on the phone of a female customer.

The pair have been stood down.

Writing on their Facebook page, Farmer Auto Village boss Mike Farmer said: "The team here at Farmer Auto Village are devastated that two individuals have made these stupid ignorant comments, we have always prided ourselves on our multi-cultural environment that enriches our company.

"The people involved are currently stood down whilst an employment process is underway which we cannot comment on at this point until it is completed.

"We can assure you that the comments by two individuals does not reflect in anyway the thoughts and opinions of our 120 team and their whanau."

Rotorua nurse Narrelle Newdick was left shaking and in tears after a car dealer left a racist voice message on her phone calling her a "f***** clever Māori".

She had visited the Farmer Auto Village in Tauranga with the hopes of buying a new car.

After taking one of their cars for a test run, Ms Newdick was set on buying the vehicle until she discovered the shocking message from the dealership left accidentally on her phone.

"Your little Māori girl…it keeps going to voice mail," two dealers could be heard saying to each other in the message.

"Tell her don't be a f***** clever Māori.

"Go back to Maketu and dig pipis out of the sand."

Ms Newdick told TVNZ1's Marae programme on Monday she was upset and angry to hear the two minute conversation between the two Farmer Auto Village workers.

"When I received the message I couldn't believe what I was hearing," said Ms Newdick.

The message left her in a state of disbelief.

"What does he even mean by that 'don't be a f***** clever Māori'?

"So because I have a job and I work does that make me a clever Māori in his eyes? I was offended not only for myself but he's lumped us all in that box."

Marae approached Farmer Auto Village for comment on the message and were told that the company was shocked by the remarks.

They subsequently apologised to Ms Newdick.

"We are absolutely devastated that an employee within our used car department at Farmer Motor Group has made some offensive comments," Mike Farmer managing director of the company said in a statement on Monday.

Worsening affordability for first-home buyers as property prices rise in most major NZ cities

The latest Housing Affordability Measure (HAM) has today been released and it's bad news for Kiwi first-home buyers as house prices in most major cities have risen.

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The results cover the time period from March 2016 up to March 2017, and in general show a decline in affordability in the major cities from the previous HAM data.

The HAM uses household-level data to compare income after housing costs of renters and potential first home buyers, to income after housing costs for the average New Zealand household in June 2013.

Worsening affordability for first-home buyers at that national level has been driven by higher house prices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga.

In the previous HAM data release, affordability in Christchurch and Wellington was improving and Auckland's affordability was largely stable.

In contrast to the property market, rental affordability was largely stable at the national level in the latest HAM.

Rental affordability improved in Auckland and Tauranga City, was flat in Hamilton City and Wellington City, but worsened in Christchurch.

Click here to explore the full report and its data.

Real estate, housing Source: 1 NEWS


Man charged over bomb scare at Te Papa that forced school ball cancellation

A 27-year-old man has been charged over a bomb scare at Te Papa which prompted the cancellation of the Wellington Girls' College school ball.

A suspicious item was found in a loading dock at Te Papa on Friday June 8 about 6pm, Police said, and the museum was evacuated.

Police cordons were put in place and specialist teams were brought in to deal with the item.

Students arriving at Te Papa were turned away and the annual school ball was cancelled.

The man appeared at court yesterday charged with wilful damage and burglary, and was remanded on bail to reappear on July 2.

A police van parked at Te Papa where officers were alerted to a suspicious item in a loading dock. Source: 1 NEWS