Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark to be asked to quit over 'problematic conduct' at extraordinary council meeting

Mayor of Waihōpai/Invercargill, Nobby Clark, will be asked to step down by councillors on Friday following a string of complaints over his conduct. 

Clark is back in the spotlight after he allegedly made offensive comments while attending an awards dinner.  

Invercargill councillors will hold an extraordinary meeting on Friday to ask him to resign, because they cannot legally sack him as an elected representative. 

It comes after concerns were raised over Clark's behaviour at a dinner for the UFBA (United Fire Brigades' Association). He was the guest of honour. 

UFBA chief executive William Butzbach later told RNZ he mocked and offended its members and guests at the event. 

Clark allegedly called firefighters second-class citizens and personally attacked the MC. 

Invercargill City Council chief executive Michael Day then lodged a code of conduct complaint against Clark, on UFBA's behalf. Clark was found to have breached the code, according to RNZ. 

Clark wrote a letter to Butzbach to apologise, saying his "brain fade" got the better of him after heart surgery and disputed some elements of the complaint. 

"I do not normally present this way at public meetings," the letter said.  

Sam Broughton, president of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), told Newshub the public need to have confidence in their elected officials. 

"That's why we have processes like the code of conduct," he said. 

"The Mayor of Invercargill has acknowledged his comments and since apologised, and ultimately elected members are accountable to their communities." 

Southland Business Chamber chief executive Sheree Carey said it holds "deep concern" about Clark's "problematic conduct" - namely at the UFBA event. 

"Despite Mayor Clark's health challenges and his subsequent apology, the recurring nature of these incidents indicates a critical need for systemic change within our city's leadership. 

"The chamber believes that the most responsible course of action would be for Mayor Clark to step aside." 

She said his behaviour and use of "racially and sexually insensitive language" breaches the expected standard of conduct for elected leaders. 

Carey said Southland Business Chamber is still committed to working collaboratively with the council. 

Meanwhile, councillor Ian Pottinger told RNZ Clark's behaviour has crossed the line. 

"It's brought disrepute to Invercargill and no apology will fix that, and that's why I will be asking for his resignation," he said. 

Pottinger said councillors should think "very carefully" about what to say at the extraordinary meeting on Friday. 

He was one of two councillors who filed a code of conduct complaint against Clark last year, after he appeared on Guy Williams' show New Zealand Today. This complaint is still being investigated. 

Clark has defended times where he used the N-word, including on the show and at an Art Foundation event last year, when discussing "freedom of expression" in art. 

He declined to comment before the hui on Friday.