A CALL to dump Wagga's sister city in China has been narrowly supported by the city's councillors at Tuesday night's council meeting.
Cr Paul Funnell, who initiated the motion, pushed to sever the the city's connection with Kunming, as well as other arrangements associated with China.
He said the city was not in "a true friendship" with Kunming, which was an extension of a totalitarian regime that "lied to the world" about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cr Funnell said it was not a "knee-jerk reaction" to coronavirus, nor a debate fuelled by racism, but an attempt to set an example.
"We must end that relationship arrangement and not condone such behaviour. This action is in no way stopping international trade, communication or the opportunity to deal with China in a fair, transparent and mutually beneficial manner," he said. "What it does do is say we will not tolerate lies and subterfuge."
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Cr Vanessa Keenan said it was "a huge shame" that Cr Funnell has promoted fear and hatred during a time where so many people were suffering.
"I don't think this is the time to stir up a hornets nest when we should be focused on other things at hand rather than Wagga supposedly dabbling in international relations."
Cr Rod Kendall said the sister city relationship was about understanding cultures different to one's own, not agreeing with a political regime.
Cr Dan Hayes said many people living in Wagga have a connection to China that need to be supported by the council.
He said it was hypocritical of Cr Funnell to bring up this report about international relations when he says the council needs to focus on roads, rates and rubbish.
Crs Funnell, Yvonne Braid and Tim Koschel voted to discontinue the city's relationship with Kunming while Crs Hayes, Keenan and Kendall voted against.
Because Mayor Greg Conkey was absent and deputy Dallas Tout declared a conflict of interest, Cr Koschel took the chair and used his casting vote to pass the motion.
The casting vote could have easily fallen to Cr Kendall, who was also nominated to take the chair, but a deadlock vote between the two councillors ended in their names being drawn at random to decide.
Kerry Pascoe also declared a conflict of interest.