Palmerston North Councillor retracts racist comment

Palmerston North city councillor Bruce Wilson has apologised to the council for his "lapse in judgment" in talking about the possibility of sterilising Maori women as a way of reducing smoking rates.

In a statement to the planning and policy committee this afternoon he formally retracted his comments.

He hoped his future actions would convince people of his "genuine desire to remedy the hurt I have caused".

Wilson's comments - made in a community wellbeing committee meeting - caused outrage last week, and led Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia to call for a swift and strong response from the council.

Wilson said today that his choice of topic and words was "inappropriate" and "wholly unsuitable".

"Last Wednesday evening I said something at the community wellbeing committee meeting for which I am truly sorry and which I unreservedly retract.  

"It is clear from the last few days that many people were offended," he said.

He said he was truly sorry and was retracting his comments at the first opportunity to do so.

"I make no attempt at justification of my comment, nor do I seek to offer any excuse.

"The lapse in judgment was inexcusable and for that I express my deepest regret."

Manawatu Standard