Chong tied up by code

21:58, Jun 10 2014
Murray Chong

A first-term councillor got a dressing down for his state of attire in council chambers this week.

Of the 13 men at the council's round table councillor Murray Chong was the only one without a tie.

While he has occasionally been seen sporting an orange silk tie, he picked the Annual Plan deliberations as the moment to assert his fashion autonomy.

And deputy mayor Heather Dodunski called him out on his under-dressed state.

"Perhaps Councillor Chong should apologise for not wearing correct dress during a council meeting," Dodunski said.

But Chong wasn't about to hang up his hat on the matter.


"It is my belief that I don't wear a tie. If an Indian had his turban on would you tell him to take his turban off," he said.

He would also not wear a tie to long-term plan meetings or any formal discussions, he said.

"I really, really, don't like ties. It doesn't make me any worse of a person; it makes me think better," he said.

"And I'm just saying, how can not wearing a tie make me a worse decision maker."

Mayor Andrew Judd stepped in and said Chong had made his position clear and the councillors needed to get on with the business of the day.

However, Judd later told the Daily News all male councillors had agreed to wear ties to full council meetings. "But it isn't something I can enforce," he said.

Ties are non-negotiable for all male councillors, the mayor and any male staff member attending meeting at the Stratford District Council, chief executive Sue Davidson said.

"We even have spare ties to give them if they forget," she said, although two district councillors were not wearing ties at last night's Stratford council meeting.

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop said the council did not have an official dress code, but every male wore a tie to full council meetings.

The New Plymouth councillors' code of conduct was adopted on March 18. Under dress code it states: "When attending meetings of the council, its standing committees and civic functions, or when representing the council at any event, elected members should maintain an appropriate high standard of dress."

Taranaki Daily News