UPDATED: Open letter to Groundswell – stop giving platforms to vile and repugnant racism and anti-semitism


Kia ora Bryce McKenzie,

All New Zealanders saw the racist and misogynistic signs which were carried into the Groundswell protests last month.

We saw for example the likes of: “Free NZ from bitch rule”, “Cindy→Stalin”, “Black utes matter”, and “We live in New Zealand not Aotearoa! Stop ramming Maori language down our throat”.

In response you said the signs were “definitely not” a fair representation of farmers’ views and you “do not condone the use of any posters that were derogatory”.

However, I find it difficult to take your assurances seriously after I was advised recently that in at least two Groundswell farmer meetings – in Riversdale (23 November 2020) and Gore (approx. a month later) the keynote speaker, from the Agricultural Action Group, promoted a series of conspiracy theories which centred on “Jews, Socialists and Communists” working together through the United Nations to promote “world government”. I am told this was presented in the context of the well-known conspiracy theory “Agenda 21” and a related conspiracy theory focused on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

I understand similar conspiracies were promoted at a Groundswell meeting held at the Federated Farmers building in Invercargill just a couple of weeks ago (Saturday 7 August) although at the time of writing I am unable to confirm this.

This blatant anti-semitism was not expressed by an individual famer in the audience – it was delivered by the keynote speaker at each of these Groundswell meetings and almost certainly at many similar meetings around the country.

Groundswell can’t be held responsible for the views expressed by other groups. However, after having heard these filthy racist views expressed, Groundswell continued to provide platform after platform for their dissemination through the farming community. This is complicity with racism and anti-semitism. It is unforgiveable.

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Frustration amongst farmers for whatever reason must not be exploited by those pushing racist, anti-semitic agendas and yet Groundswell has provided cover and collusion to this spreading of racist ideology.

This happened on your watch. Your only viable course of action is to resign from the organisation and apologise for your appalling failure of leadership.


John Minto

National Chair

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa


Apology to Groundswell – a claim in my blogpost was wrong

In my open letter to Groundswell I said Groundswell NZ had organised farmer meetings where anti-semitic conspiracy theories were presented by a spokesperson for Agriculture Action Group.

I now understand that the meetings were organised by the Agriculture Action Group,

I apologise without reservation to Groundswell for this error on my part.

Co-founders of Groundswell, Bryce McKenzie and Laurie Paterson have assured me Groundswell does not support or promote anti-semitism and say “We have ever only spoke about unworkable regulations & endeavour to not go outside that brief”.

I’m happy to accept their assurances.

The anti-semitic conspiracy theories which the Agriculture Action Group has promoted include allegations of “Jews socialists and communists” working for a global takeover and include references to the Rothschilds and Rockefellers as examples of wealthy Jewish families working alongside the United Nations agendas to achieve this.

This is classic anti-semitism and it is important it is called out within the farming fraternity. Farmers frustrated for whatever reason must not be used to promote conspiracy theories.

The Agriculture Action Group is holding dozens of “Farmers and Community Meetings” from one end of the country to the other sowing fear and suspicion to promote their conspiracy agenda. These people are a serious concern. What they say about farmers and guns in particular is very scary.

We understand Federated Farmers will be addressing the issue of wild conspiracy theories in public shortly and we welcome this.


  1. I’ve got a black Ute and it does matter.
    As far as anti Semitism goes, it has become synonymous with the left.

    • “As far as anti Semitism goes, it has become synonymous with the left”.. That’s about as trite and hypocritical it’s possible to be… Which part of “making ridiculously self serving and bigoted generalisations” don’t you understand.. If there are too many syllables in the words I’ve used, let me know, and I’ll run you through them at a pace you can follow…

      • Stephan, generalisations, HAH, you obviously don’t spend much time reading TDB.
        Save you pearl clutching and projection, sunshine
        Your proselytising is merely a manifestation of combobulation.

        Working class and proud. xx

        • Bert, that’s a little lightweight for you. You usually end up cussing at people with differing views. Back to Newshub you go.

      • Thanks for your bull shit comments commie. I voted labour when they defeated John Key but now labour has gone full commie woke, I’ll be voting ACT for the foreseeable future.

        • Chris you clearly have no understanding of what Communist actually means, the difference between Labour and National is a cigarette paper, they are both on the right.

          • 100% correct Michal ,,,, I would actually go further, and say people who think Labour / Jacinda are communist are so thick that they would be dangerous operating heavy machinery ,,,,,

            Actually I think they (farmers), may have identified the root cause of high injury and death rates from farm work place accidents ……

            …. A lot of them are really really Stupid.

            I say make them drink the water they pollute ,,, and lets see if they wake the fuck up while they are shitting themselves to death … https://www.bitchute.com/video/ogSU8LX74q87/

            p.s my Grandfather was a Labour voting farmer in the Waitaki river valley, and his farming practices were nothing like the present lot of vandals ….

  2. I have kids at primary school and while I am fine with their being in the kapa haka group (of which 3 of my daughters are / we are Pakeha) and learning Te Reo their now being told to avoid the use of English words entirely (at all times) if they know the Maori equivalent is bullshit.
    I completely understand Maori being proud of their culture but not all Pakeha want to pretend they too are Maori.

    • Racism is so alive and well Phil and you are a living example of it. So apparently okay for them to have to learn English but aaah the superior pakeha why would he want to learn Maori. It is a rich language and culture and I wish that I knew it all and that it was taught when I was at school. I think if not the primary kids of today then definitely the next generation from them will be able to speak te reo and that can only be good for both pakeha and Maori,. To suggest that if you learn the language means you are pretending to be Maori is complete nonsense.

      I hope you children are not infected by your racist attitude.

      • Learning English allows them to function in the whole World as English is the second language of
        most countries. Learning Maori helps those that do to understand the culture better . It is good that those that want to can but it should not be forced on anyone

        • Lol, English was forced on pretty much every non-European society. From Australia to India to America to NZ …… the list goes on.

    • Stop spinning Mr Brown we had English and everything English shoved down our throat. Now we have farmers farming on our land crying like babies cause they are being held to account. Unfortunately the South Island is full of racist red necks and it appears the farmers are a big part of this.

      • I think the issue here is not so much that they are racist rednecks but that they have not been sufficiently exposed to what the real NZ now is. As a consequence they simply don’t understand how the world has changed and is changing – hanging on to the past will only be short term. Does that make them rednecks – maybe but I prefer to just call it ignorance and lack of opportunity
        I live in the South, was born in the south, but have lived in the north and in Australia – there are many who are not racist rednecks. I enjoy the south but there are too many self satisfied people who are going to be left behind in their now redundant view of the world.

    • Please give me a reference to Minto’s anti-semitism, I have never read or heard or seen anything that would indicate he is an anti-semite, but I am open to seeing the quotes.

      The thing is that we constantly hear these accusations because he has criticised the Israeli government, seriously does that make one an anti-semite these days. There are lots and lots of Jews both in Israel and around the world criticising Israel’s behaviour to the Palestinians.

      • If you support Hamas then you’re either uninformed, delusional or an anti-Semite.

        But look no further than the anti-Semitic scandal that rocked the Labour Party in the UK. Somehow the movement has become infested with them. I have a few theories as to why.

      • Zionist/Pro-Zion right’s been pulling that one for decades …any criticism/critique of Isreal decried as anti-Semitic.

    • Well done you ignorant name calling swine Ben. Your prejudices ensured you missed the mark by a mile! Your comment is almost as bad as Off white’s (above) who has a weird perception that anti-semitism is the domain of the left when in fact that is far from true as is locally reported in John Minto’s commentary and the rise of the extreme right throughout the “western world”.

    • Oops! It looks like you’ve confused John Minto’s criticism of Israeli apartheid with anti-Semitism. Don’t worry – it’s a common mistake.

      • When you ONLY criticise Israel to the point of deranged obsession while ignoring all other human rights abusers, (and remembering that Israel is not even remotely in the top 10 worldwide) it’s ANTISEMITISM.

          • Well it was a turn-up for the books when the resident troll said, “….while ignoring all other human rights abusers….”

            The admission (which you have endorsed) is a landmark since up until now, there has always been a denial of the fact that Israel belongs to the league of human rights abusers from the anti-semite labelling team, which includes yourself.

          • Being factually correct does in no way at all mean hateful, demeaning or derogatory towards Jews. Not going at all!

          • Thank you, Ben. Always happy to be a beacon of truth amongst the darkness of anti-Israel lies, distortions and propaganda.

        • I am not aware of other countries that practice apartheid quite like Israel, 60 laws that are there specifically for Palestinians living in Israel.

          Well wouldn’t you expect Minto to be a little bit obsessed about this topic he is after all Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa! If he wasn’t banging on about it he wouldn’t be doing his job.

          But presumably you believe he shouldn’t be having a go at Groundswell for their anti-semite behaviour.

          To suggest that Minto has not spoken out about other human rights abusers is nuts, just do a wee google Gaby put the names of the others in with his name and you would find he has called out lots and lots of countries over the years, including Zimbabwe and the treatment of the Tuhoe in our own fair land.

          But then Gaby please tell us what you are doing about human rights. I have never quite understood why Minto has to do all the shouting, why aren’t others shouting, there is plenty to shout about North Korea, Russia, China etc.

          Please let me know when and where you are organising the next demonstration and what it will be about.

          • Shot yourself in the foot badly there, I’m afraid. ‘Palestinians living in Israel’….Palestinians live in Gaza and the West Bank, not Israel, and solely under the jurisdiction of Hamas and the PA. This is where you Israel bashers flounder…you don’t even know the basic facts.

            • About two million Palestinians live in Israel, FACT. 60 laws discriminate against them. Most of us call this apartheid.

        • Classic whataboutism. So, if you criticise one human rights abuse, you must HATE all people with overlapping identities of the perpertator – UNLESS you publicly criticise every human rights abuse. Is that right?

          Sure hope you’ve got time to fight every injustice in the world with equal fervour, otherwise you’re A RACIST!

          To be non-racist then, I suppose you must be equally apathetic to all causes, and take no action against any injustice you see.

        • Fair and honest criticism of Israel is not antisemitism just as fair criticism of any mainly Semitic country/state stands on the merits of its contents.
          The cry of “antisemitism” can be an unfair term of abuse.
          Any nation or state should stand fair criticism about its actions or affairs.

        • Oh what moron you are g. Do you have to be in the top 10 to be considered a genocidal State sponsored murdering machine, namely the well funded, nuclear armed IDF??

  3. Minto, you do realise that one person’s racist is another person’s racist, aka you could easily (and many other protestors) be investigated as an anti-semite under the new hate speech laws. Look at Corbyn, the constant cry of racism is just another technique of neoliberalism, which you are supporting.

    Actions speak louder than words and when freedom of speech turns into real threats then it’s a crime.

    We live in a world where people have different beliefs and criminalising those beliefs can quickly turn into totalitarianism.

    I don’t believe in Groundswell speak, but also don’t believe in religion where non-believers are ‘bad’ or the ever popular trickle-down economics, or Santa, the tooth fairy.

    Ok these people don’t believe in Te Reo, but ask what is more important to that Maori family, that their language is represented in government departments or that the government departments actually work and get them a house, decent job, health care, food, social interaction, education and decent quality of life… which is more important?

    Maybe the woke police need to be more in touch with the reality of life in NZ for those at the bottom of the heap. I’d say Te Reo is not as high up as safety, meth, housing, food, health care etc for most people polled in NZ, but clearly by the millions spent re-branding no 1 priority for politicians.

  4. Look theres a couple racists over there said the elite as their policies are destroying Maori and Pacifica lives with biased monetary policy. Orr and Jacinda love us being focussed on a few evil turds while the real damage to society is being ignored. Wake up people. Focus on the people who pretend they care whilst doing ireparable damage to the poorest in society.

  5. John, sadly what you identify is not new. The overt use of the cover provided by ‘legitimate’ protestors by fringe groups was something that I first became aware of during the anti Vietnam War, and anti apartheid marches and later in a union strike. I became so alarmed by how much power the ‘fringe’ gains from this that I will not take part in any protest march as often the original intent is quickly hijacked for nefarious views.

      • Kim, not sure if you are replying to my post because you are 100% wrong and I fail to see the relevance of your claim.

      • Oh come on that is so old school and ridiculous in Aotearoa at least. We heard about the roubles Russia was providing us with back in 1981, dam still haven’t got my fair share.

        • $108,416 – paid by National Party
          $ 82,247 – paid by Greens
          $ 71,769 – paid by ACT
          $ 41,396 – paid by Labour
          $ 41,396 – paid by NZ First
          Those are the costings from one lot of “Social Media Outreach”.
          Overseas political, corporate or other interests not included.
          Who is spending on Social Media NZ

  6. This has to be the most exquisite piece of irony ever published on TDB…John Minto taking the moral ground against antisemitism.

    • Herr Gaby have you actually been reading Mintos contributions. He has repeatedly condemned antisemitism but perhaps not what you call antisemitism. Criticism of Israel and of Zionism is not antisemitism per se.

      • Gaby fears and hates the truth.

        Want proof ??? ,,,,,, his past statements and attitude towards Nicky Hager and Julian Assange.

        What do both of these men who Gaby hates do?.

        They reveal and tell the truth.

        Gaby = truth hater.

        Ask him yourself ,,,,,,,,

      • The current mutation of the virus, antisemitism, is anti-Zionism: hatred of Israel, the collective Jew, and the desire to destroy the only Jewish state while allying oneself with islamist jihadi terrorists. Trying to deflect or wriggle away from this obvious truth, trying to deny this very sick pathology, is pitiful.

    • No the irony is that Gaby is pretending anyone who opposes the apartheid Israeli state – opps, sorry, not irony – just Gaby’s usual behaviour from her IDF bunker somewhere in occupied Palestine where she is paid to jump down the throat of anyone who dares ask the fascists Israeli state to stop stealing land and slaughtering babies.

  7. ‘Jacinda-Stalin’
    If that were true her critics would now be housed in work camps,planting pine forests on overused farmland, cleaned up polluted waterways have completely rebuilt Christchurch, completed Auckland’s light rail system, completed railways linking all New Zealand cities also building the new city of ‘Jacindapolis’ somewhere near Lake Tekapo.
    Our housing problems would be solved by converting the mansions of the wealthy into apartment blocks for low income earners. Their vast estates turned into massive public gardens
    Members of the Labour Party would have special shops, hotels and restaurants for their use alone. Likewise housing allocations.

    For Christ’s sake get some perspective. Try reading a few books.

      • For some reason I am able to edit “aom”‘s comment. Not that I ever would. But this needs to be fixed ASAP.

        • Yes, there is an html error thing happening – It has popped up over the last year or so at least, – where you can edit or delete the comments of others. It happens when you log out completely and start over. I’ve bumped into others’ comments that way, and no doubt others have stumbled over mine from time to time – all pre-pub. I hope someone can fix it…

  8. The groundwell event I attended included a significant number of Maori people, plus a good selection of other races (maybe Philipines, Indians, I don’t want to assume) and no racism that I could see. All united against excessive and unworkable top-down legislation which would produce huge unintended negative consequences.

    • Yes!

      huge unintended negative consequences

      Exactly! If only they would listen!
      However I think that if it were not for the Covid distraction, someone up top would be listening and would start to comprehend this. But, during the time of Delta, I think we all just have to wait it out. Now is not the time.

  9. Owning land and doing what one wants creates an alliance across cultures … and now they have a common enemy, anyone on the left.

  10. Lord Jonathan Sacks: ‘Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism’ – BBC Newsnight
    Don’t believe a single word of Minto bullshit!

    • Zionism is a political ideology, criticising political ideas is not hateful. Not really interested in what a British Lord has to say on the subject, to be honest.

    • George it is important that we don’t live our world using the BBC as our guide.
      It is a UK propaganda outlet. The BBC announced the demolition of the WTC 7 some time before it took place. Consider the implications of that and the rubbish the BBC promoted about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction in spite of the UN inspectors stating there were none.

    • What? So, do you have to be of a Zionist political persuasion to be a Jew? Or, is it that you can’t be Jewish if you want to live anywhere but Israel? So what do you call a Jew who isn’t resident in, or subservient to the political foundations underpinning the state of Israel? Anti-semite?

      It seems the logic is all fucked up when self-serving definitions are devised by a very biased committee in London without any public endorsement, then blindly supported by someone on the basis of a opinion expressed on a BBC programme over six years ago by a now deceased Rabbi. To use such flawed logic to pass your judgement on a person who has never been proved to be anti-semite makes you look like someone who lacks mental acuity.

      • on a BBC programme

        BBC do have remarkable insight/ foresight/ pre-cog at times, however. I and others were frozen in front of the tv 20 years ago (exactly, in a bit over two weeks time), trying to make sense of what was going on, when the female bbc presenter announced the fall of the the third tower. It was still standing.

        20 minutes or so later, it fell.

  11. Great stuff John, Agricultural Action Group are nothing but wild conspiracy theorists trying to use farmers’ frustrations to gain traction.

    I chatted to a progressive farmer earlier this year who said that many farmers were conflicted on Groundswell’s goals or did not support them at all, so the farmers who *are* getting involved are the most regressive elements of the community – hence the disgusting signs and racism on display.

    This doesn’t bode well for their own cause. They’ll either have to organise more effectively to sweep the hateful elements under the rug, or embrace them and be viewed by the public as a hateful group.

    Will be interesting to see what happens in their next action.

  12. No, no, no, no, no…! NO ! Stop it!?
    Jesus @ JM? You do realise you’re playing into the arms of the enemy?
    Some farmers, as with many people, are exercising the right to express their ignorance.
    Racism is ignorance. Sexism is ignorance. Homophobia is ignorance. Lacking in an adequate formal education dooms one to certain levels of ignorance.
    And do you know what else ignorance is? It’s a golden opportunity for those whom will, without conscience, exploit those ignorance’s.
    Farmers earn our foreign exchange and feed us too. And yet many are entirely ignorant of the nuances of the requirements needed to live an enlightened and full life unfettered by ignorant hate and prejudice, the expressions of which will lead to them being the authors of their own destruction. As can be seen here as you, yourself @ JM, hold a match to the bonfire that’ll be our farmers social demise.
    Can I stress? Farmer ignorance is a means of control foisted on farmers by denying them the luxury of enlightenment by a master class of rich city bound individuals long having learned that keeping farmers in the deepest darkness while feeding them misinformation, lies and prejudices is hugely profitable because farmers have found themselves enslaved to their farms without a friend in the world except their enemies to be damned by the insecurities of loneliness and miserable social connections to work ever harder while we city people swell up on the foods the produce for which demonising and hate is their only real reward from us?
    How is that fair and just? It isn’t is it? @ John Minto?

  13. Funny tragic – when Israel gets bad press Arab and leftist thugs throughout the world attack Jews and synogogues. But of course it’s not anti semitism…

    • So, what is it when Israelis attack and defile a mosque in Jerusalem, or anywhere else for that matter? And, is it not anti-semitism in your opinion, if extremists who are neither Arab nor Muslim attack synagogues?

      You sound like a ‘tragic funny’ with your comment Leigh, which doesn’t even seem to have any connection to John Minto’s observations relating to Groundswell and its anti-semetic connections.

  14. Israel was wrong from the beginning like all conquests. Except it was born in idealism. And stings us all now. And there they all are, as comfortable as we pakeha here in NZ.

    It’s as difficult as Northern Ireland but without 3 centuries.

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