A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) staff member sent contractors a link to a ''very inappropriate'' YouTube video, depicting a fictional woman who wants to meet asbestos workers for sex before they die of cancer.
The video clip, titled Asbestos Girl, features a woman talking to an asbestos worker in a bar about how people in his profession are brave ''because you know you're going to die of mesothelioma''.
Mesothelioma is a rare fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdominal cavity and can be caused by asbestos, a known carcinogen.
The link to the video was sent to about 40 Cera contractors by Cera residential red zone operations manager Tim Pow on Friday.
Pow's email included the message: ''Now who said Asbestos was not the game to be in.''
The woman in the clip says: ''I'm just asking you to come back to my house, sniff some sealant and remove my asbestos - you know, have sex - before you die of mesothelioma.''
A Christchurch contractor, who did not want to be named, said the video was ''in very poor taste'' and the email had caused outrage among its recipients.
New Zealand Demolition and Asbestos Association executive member Helina Stil said the email was ''pretty strange''.
''They think it's all funny and stuff like that, but actually it's not. It's detrimental to what we're trying to achieve as women, but it's also detrimental to the industry as a whole.'' She told Cera on Monday that the email was ''disappointing''.
''Tim is a really really nice guy but in this instance, the email was inappropriate.''
Stil was concerned that the email also appeared to make light of the fact asbestos was a highly dangerous substance, particularly following criticism last week about how it had been handled during Canterbury's earthquake rebuild.
''I think it's actually very, very poor timing and very, very poor taste.''
Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the email intended to give people a laugh ''but in reality it was just dumb''.
''The content has caused offence to some, and to anyone that has been offended, I apologise on behalf of Cera.''
Cera was a strong supporter of women working in the rebuild, and about half of its senior leaders were women, along with 64 per cent of its fixed-term and seconded staff, he said.
Cera also treated asbestos management ''very seriously'' and had strict requirements in place for contractors dealing with the substance at Crown-owned properties.
Sutton said Cera would be reminding staff of its policies and expectations for the use of work email.
- The Press