By Karen Williams, Vice-President, Federated Farmers of NZ
While an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Indonesia has Australasian biosecurity authorities on high alert, on a more local and human scale it’s a deplorable case of ‘foot in mouth’ that grabbed headlines in New Zealand last week.
DLG chief executive Simon Henry’s offensive, misogynist and racist comments about Nadia Lim have been met with near-universal condemnation.
I was angry myself, and took to social media to offer support to Nadia and call out the ‘below the line’ behaviour against someone Federated Farmers considers “one of our people”. Nadia is a Central Otago sheep, beef and arable farmer, a celebrity chef, a Mum, an innovative businesswoman and a prominent and well-respected Kiwi who positively promotes farming, food and fibre production, farming life and strongly connects with an urban audience. Last week when all this was unfolding, Nadia was Master of Ceremonies at the Eat NZ Grains Conference in Christchurch celebrating New Zealand grown grains and the farmers, millers, and bakers bringing the grain industry alive.
Not only have people around the country stated their immense dislike for Henry’s overwhelming lack of judgment and respect, there has been an economic price for Henry’s dismissive and unwarranted description of Nadia – tens of millions of dollars have been wiped from his company’s share value. More importantly, the reaction to Henry’s comments on her ethnicity and attire in an NBR interview show that more and more New Zealanders – and corporate investors too – will call out racism and sexism and will desert any person or company or sector that condones it.
No one’s capabilities or offering should be undermined because of their race, gender or sexuality – ever!
Nadia has said her and her husband Carlos Bagrie’s farming operation is a chance for her to focus on and practise her belief in sustainable and ethical food production and supply. In a recent Mike Hosking interview, she slammed the amount of bureaucracy and government regulation that gets in the way of sustainable production. No arguments from us on that!
Federated Farmers strives to be a positive, inclusive, and progressive organisation that champions the production of quality food and fibre, healthy vibrant people and communities, and environmental stewardship. The ‘My Food Bag’ founder and entrepreneur is just the kind of member we look to represent.
We’ve ‘got your back’ Nadia!