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.
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.
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa