Petition calls for New Plymouth councillor 'ashamed' to sing national anthem in Te Reo to resign

There are calls for the resignation of New Plymouth District Councillor Murray Chong after he said he's "ashamed" to sing the national anthem in Te Reo.

A petition calling for Mr Chong to stand down has more than 2500 signatures. It labelled his comments around the anthem as "disgraceful".

Mr Chong recently wrote on Facebook he only wanted to sing the "original" version of the national anthem.

"If we all have to be made to sing the anthem in two languages, then the haka should be sung in two languages too."

The English version of 'God Defend New Zealand' was written as a poem in the 1870s and music was added to it in 1876. The Māori verse was written in 1878.

Technically the anthem is one of two national anthems of New Zealand, the other being 'God Save the Queen'.

Michael Riley, who ran for New Plymouth Council in 2016 but now works in Australia, told RadioLIVE it's not the first time Mr Chong has been in trouble for comments about race.

In the past he has mocked the Asian accent, made fun of the Paris bombings and openly admitted to flying the Confederate flag.

Mr Riley said with a history like that it's likely Mr Chong knew what he was getting into when commenting on that Facebook post.

"It's a public post and he's an elected official, so I think, considering everything he's been through in the past when he's made comments and they've been made public,  I 100 percent believe he was 100 percent aware that this could have the potential of getting into the public domain."

Mr Chong has been censured and apologised multiple times in the past because of his behaviour.

"Even after he made an apology recently after the Mayor told him to he made a public post on Facebook saying that it was half pie, his apology.

"He's basically saying that he's only making these apologies because he's being told to make them."


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