John Tamihere says 'Sieg Heil' in mayoral debate

John Tamihere shocked the audience at an Auckland mayoral debate by responding to his opponent's praise for diversity with a Nazi slogan.

On Tuesday evening, Tamihere and Phil Goff took part in a debate in Ponsonby's Chapel Bar during which they discussed transport, infrastructure and other topics.

Near the end of the event both candidates were asked to answer the question 'What do you wish for the grandchildren of Auckland?'

Phil Goff said he wanted them to grow up in an inclusive, diverse city, and called back to an earlier question over his decision to bar Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern from speaking in Council-owned venues. 

"We won't put up with the sort of nonsense we get from racists coming into this country to tell us that multiculturalism doesn't work."

He said his soon-to-be-born grandson, who is of mixed-race parentage, will represent the future of Auckland. 

"Well I say Sieg Heil to that," John Tamihere replied.

"Like the Nazis?" Goff said. "What do you mean by that? That's weird."

"I've never heard such a prepared speech delivered so boringly," Tamihere continued, chuckling.

The comment can be heard at 1:18:53 in the video below.

'Sieg Heil', which means 'hail victory' in German, was a common rallying cry for members of the Nazi Party, often accompanied by a salute. 

There was an audible outcry from some audience members to Tamihere's remark, while moderator Martyn Bradbury looked uncomfortable. 

After a few moments of awkward laughter from both candidates and audience, the debate continued as normal and wrapped up a few minutes later.

It's unclear what Tamihere meant by the remark. His campaign has been approached for clarification.

In 2008 the then-Labour MP drew the ire of the Jewish Council when he said he was "sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed".