Two Hamilton City Councillors spark outrage

Siggi Henry and James Casson.
Siggi Henry and James Casson. Photo credit: Facebook/Siggi Henry/James Casson

Two Hamilton City Councillors have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons at the same time.

First-term Councillor Siggi Henry attended an autism awareness event on Friday wearing an anti-vaccine T-shirt, Stuff reports.

The shirt promoted a film called Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, directed by disgraced former doctor Andrew Wakefield, falsely claiming there's a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Henry, who is also anti-fluoride, said she thought it would spark debate, but didn't want to offend.

"All I want is for people to do their own research and not take everything at face value," she told Stuff.

Her choice of shirt comes as Canterbury faces a measles outbreak.

Meanwhile, Councillor James Casson has deleted a Facebook post in which he called on Kiwis to "move on" from the Christchurch mosque killings, which left 50 dead just over two weeks ago.

He said with each memorial held to those who lost their lives, the alleged guman "wins".

He also criticised the Government's "knee-jerk" reaction to crack down on the kinds of weapons the gunman used, police guarding public events and mosques, banning "free speech" and laying flowers.

He even said "each tear shed, [the suspect] wins".

Casson is a former police officer who once described Middle Eastern men seeking refuge in Europe as an "invasion" of "scum".

Hamilton City Council said on its Twitter account Casson "is entitled to share his views on his own channels. The Council stands with NZ on this."

Fellow Councillor Dave Macpherson called Casson's views a "stain on the council".

"To my mind - each time Hamilton City Councillor James Casson opens his mouth to speak bullshit like this, the right-wing gun nuts, hate speech jerks & anti-immigration racists win," he wrote on his Twitter account.

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King told Stuff Casson's "fringe opinion" saddened him.