'Cap off' demand incenses farmer

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 09:27 07/06/2014

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A Makikihi farmer claims his Timaru bank was culturally insensitive when a teller demanded he take off his peaked cap on Tuesday.

Morgan Wallace said he had already passed over a deposit slip for $232,000 when he was told to take off his hat at the Stafford St ASB.

"I was dressed in obvious rural gear I was. I said ‘you must be joking'."

He told her he had been in Auckland recently, and spotted many women wearing burqas.

Her reply was "that's because of religious beliefs" and it was OK for them to come into the bank.

"My hat is my religion," he said.

Wallace has spoken to ASB's head office but has not received any clarification on what is allowed and what is not.

"I'm not going to give up, I'm going to expose it for what it is. There's one rule for one and not for others."

The farmer is angry, saying that wearing a cap was part of Kiwi culture and should be allowed.

"I think New Zealand is sinking fairly quickly. I was never treated like that at the National Bank or the ANZ."

ASB general manager branch banking Grant Gilbert said the policy was for security purposes. He would not elaborate on whether a burqa wearer would be refused entry.

"ASB has a preference for customers to not wear hats or items such as motorcycle helmets that obscure their faces. We have signage on the front of all branches advising people of this request," he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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