'Dickhead': Hamilton Councillors slam colleague for Christchurch comments

A Hamilton Councillor said tears, memorials and laying flowers for the Christchurch victims are a win for the alleged shooter.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, James Casson wrote that these responses are what the alleged shooter craves and we should instead carry on as normal.

His comments have drawn criticism from the Muslim community and fellow councillors.

In the post Casson, a former police officer who also works for Immigration NZ, named the alleged shooter 20 times and criticised the country's response to the March 15 terror attack.

"Each mosque protected, the alleged shooter wins," he wrote. "Banning semiautomatic firearms, a win for the shooter."

Fellow Hamilton Councillor Dave MacPherson has condemned Casson's remarks.

"I described him as a dickhead for making those comments," he said.

"He's feeding racism doing that, and there's a handful of gun nuts around that will love those comments."

But another Councillor said while he doesn't agree with Casson's comments, he is entitled to make them.

"People in this day and age are very keen to want to be offended and people are hurting," Mark Bunting said. "We're very sensitive at the moment so perhaps I would've used more sensitive language, but the point of view is valid."

Casson concluded the post by saying "New Zealanders only win when we carry on with life as normal".

Waikato Muslim Association Aliya Danzeisen disagrees. She said we need to do better to stop hate speech and racism, which her community has been experiencing for far too long.

"The idea that things can just go back to the way they were is not acceptable for us. Children in Hamilton have been harassed."

She said it's not Casson's place to say when people should stop mourning.

"Have you even spoken to anyone? I've hugged people who have lost, I've sat with children who have lost their father. They need time to process even what their life will be like."

James Casson did not return Newshub's calls, but his boss Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said he may have breached the council's code of conduct.

It would be up to the public to make a complaint, he said.