'This is not body-shaming': Mark Richardson defends pool's decision over bikini

Mark Richardson has defended staff at an Auckland swimming pool's decision to ask a woman to wear a more appropriate swimming costume.

The AM Show host said on Monday if other swimmers were feeling uncomfortable staff had every right to talk to her about it.

"If they feel the other patrons are feeling uncomfortable. They have every right to make a call," he said. 

North Shore woman Yvette Harvie-Salter was in the spa at Albany Stadium Pool on Saturday, when she claims the duty manager told her her bikini was not appropriate.

Harvie-Salter made the claim in a Facebook post, adding she had been wearing the bikini to the pool for a few months.

"Her [the duty manager] exact words were that it's not a 'rule' but a few of the mums have complained about it so I have to wear something more conservative. She asked me if I have any other bikinis at home and I do but they're all the same!

"I bought this bikini from Glassons.com literally just across the road from the pool, and it's 2019!!! All the bikinis in the store look like this!

"Almost every day I'm there, a child s&*ts in the pool and it gets closed, I find that offensive," the post said. 

Yvette Harvie-Salter's face.
Photo credit: Facebook/Yvette Harvie-Salter

She said when she tried to get her money back, staff laughed at her.

Co-host Amanda Gillies stuck up for Harvie-Salter, agreeing it was hypocritical to make a fuss over a bikini when there were screaming kids in the pool.

She also said it was body-shaming.

"Who cares, she was in a private spa with her partner. Why body shame, it is frustrating as a women. When I was skinny people said 'you have to eat more', and then when I put on weight people would look at my tummy and say 'have you put on weight,'" Gillies said.

But Richardson hit back saying it wasn't about her body, just a question of decency.

"This is not body-shaming, no one is saying you have a bad body. It's actually how much you can and can't show."

Rob McGee, head of active recreation at Auckland Council, has since apologised to  Harvie-Salter.

"On behalf of the lifeguard who spoke to the customer and the team at Albany, I would like to offer a sincere apology to the customer," McGee said.

"We are sorry she was made to feel uncomfortable, and the lifeguard who passed on the feedback from other pool users now realises this wasn't the right thing to do.

"She was never asked to leave, however, we understand her decision.

"We will be contacting the customer directly to apologise and ensure she knows she is welcome back anytime."

A large, square building with "Albany Stadium Pool" written on the side.
The Albany Stadium pool. Photo credit: Google Maps

A poll run by The AM Show on the subject shows overwhelmingly that viewers think the bikini was more acceptable than Speedos, which Richardson said "were never appropriate".