Tuesday, 29 January 2019 11:59

Columnist facing calls to apologise to Wilson’s family

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NZ Herald columnist Rachel Stewart's August 15 tweet. NZ Herald columnist Rachel Stewart's August 15 tweet.

A New Zealand Herald columnist, who questioned the retirement of former Fonterra chairman John Wilson in July last year, is facing calls to apologise to his family.

Read: Tributes flow for former Fonterra chair John Wilson.

Wilson, who passed away yesterday morning, stepped down in July last year citing health reasons.

However, columnist Rachel Stewart tweeted at the time that she didn’t buy Wilson’s reason for leaving the co-op and is now coming under fire on social media.

“I’m confident that John Wilson is in fine fettle and his ‘health scare’ was an excuse to slip quietly out the back door of Fonterra. Can anyone prove me wrong,” she tweeted on August 15.

On Twitter today, Stewart is facing calls from farmers and industry leaders to apologise and admit that she got it wrong.

NZ Food and Grocer Council head Katherine Rich re-tweeted Stewart’s original tweet with Stewart's comment.

Even respected NZ Herald business writer Fran O’Sullivan commented on Twitter; “Vale, John Wilson. Took at lot of mean-spirited comments when he stood down as Fonterra chairman, His loss today will be felt throughout the dairy industry.”

Direct message

Farmer Dean Rabbidge called for her to be blacklisted from writing for media outlets. 

Farmer Craig Douglas said it was a good time for Stewart to make her apology.

Stewart, who has a history of causing controversy with farmers, did respond with a tweet today.


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