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.


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Exclusive: Nearly half a million Kiwis owe social development ministry $1.5 billion for loans

The Government agency in charge of taking care of New Zealand's most vulnerable is putting hundreds of thousands of people into debt.

The Ministry of Social Development has handed out $1.5 billion in loans, interest free, to 509,571 people for things like dentistry, school supplies and housing.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said a large amount of that money is over payments, "and then it's also hardship and then it's also fraud".

This comes as the Government cracks down on loan sharks.

Social agencies argue Work and Income is no better, given benefits remain too low to cover the basics.

"They end up having to repay money every week which means they can't afford to eat or meet their weekly costs, pushing them into shark loans," said Ricardo Menendez March of Auckland Action Against Poverty.

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"I'm lucky enough if I can live week to week on what I receive, especially being in emergency housing," she said.

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"Access to a washing machine or a fridge are things that people may need to pay back," she said.

"And I think they're really important measures to have in place through MSD because you can actually get that type of advance for those things in a way where you're not paying huge amounts of interest on top of that."

The Auckland mother of three would like a pay rise. 

"Poverty is real in New Zealand, government just doesn't see it, " she said.

She's hoping to have her debt cleared too. 

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The Ministry of Social Development has handed out $1.5 billion in loans to half a million people to pay for the likes of the dentist and a house to live. Source: 1 NEWS

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Solo mother of three Dani Gibson was on the benefit for six years before she found a job that suited her.

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Ms Gibson is one of 204 workers that have been working at Turners and Growers in the last year after coming from the Ministry of Social Development.

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"There are still people that are seeking work and we need to work with them to make sure they are able to take up these jobs," Ms Sepuloni said.

In the last year, Turners and Growers in Hawke’s Bay have employed 204 workers from the Ministry of Social Development’s books. Source: 1 NEWS


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A weekly catch up with 1 NEWS’ political reporters about the stories they’ve been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

The 1 NEWS team discuss the potential aftermath for leader Simon Bridges once the investigation into the National Party leaker is released. Source: 1 NEWS