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blog may 6


Milford condemns DGL chief, but won’t comment on shareholding

It’s Friday! And this is The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, send me a message on

The agenda

  • DGL shareholder Milford to “directly engage” with CEO Simon Henry after Nadia Lim comments.
  • At least two KiwiSaver funds have now blacklisted DGL following the furore.
  • Covid-19 update: 24 new deaths, 363 in hospital, 7,347 new community cases
  • Countdown to freeze price of 500 essential items over winter.
  • Hollywood actress heading to NZ for adaptation of local novel.
blog may 6

Milford condemns DGL chief, but won’t comment on shareholding

It’s Friday! And this is The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, send me a message on

The agenda

  • DGL shareholder Milford to “directly engage” with CEO Simon Henry after Nadia Lim comments.
  • At least two KiwiSaver funds have now blacklisted DGL following the furore.
  • Covid-19 update: 24 new deaths, 363 in hospital, 7,347 new community cases
  • Countdown to freeze price of 500 essential items over winter.
  • Hollywood actress heading to NZ for adaptation of local novel.
May 6 2022

PM says CEO’s ‘Eurasian fluff’ comments are ‘insulting to all women’

Jacinda Ardern addresses media at the Beehive. (Photo by Robert Kitchin – Pool/Getty Images)

The prime minister has weighed in on the furore over comments by chemicals boss Simon Henry about My Food Bag founder Nadia Lim.

Fronting a press conference this afternoon, Ardern was asked what she made of Henry calling Lim “Eurasian fluff” and commenting on her “cleavage”.

“Not only does that do a complete disservice to Nadia herself, I imagine it would be insulting to all women,” Ardern said. “Ultimately, the success of Nadia Lim speaks for itself.”

Henry has not publicly acknowledged the backlash to his comments.

DGL shareholder Milford to ‘directly engage’ with CEO Simon Henry

DGL chief executive Simon Henry (Image: Supplied / Tina Tiller)

Fund manager Milford Asset won’t publicly comment on whether or not it plans to sell its shares in DGL, the company run by Simon Henry.

At least two investment companies have so far blacklisted DGL after Henry, the chemicals manufacturer’s CEO, labelled My Food Bag founder Nadia Lim “Eurasian fluff”.

Head of sustainable investments for Milford, Frances Sweetman, told The Spinoff live updates that to comment on selling their stock in DGL would constitute “market manipulation”. However, she denied a claim made by The Spinoff that the company was publicly standing by its DGL shareholding. “We condemn all discriminatory and offensive comments,” Sweetman said.

Instead of putting DGL on an investment exemption list, Sweetman said Milford would directly engage with DGL to try and tackle the issue. “This is not easy, but we genuinely believe this is the best way to effect change. We are going to engage with the CEO and board of DGL Group in relation to these comments.”

Henry and the DGL board have thus far remained publicly silent on the matter and not made any comments in the media.

Asked by The Spinoff whether Milford’s position on DGL took into account reemerged claims that Henry had harassed a woman, Sweetman said she was not aware of the allegation.

Hollywood actress heading to NZ for adaptation of local novel

Actress Elizabeth Banks is heading to New Zealand.

She’s been cast in a film adaptation of Wellington-based author Carl Shuker’s novel A Mistake. According to Variety, Banks will will star as a surgeon “desperately trying to hold on to her career after the death of a patient”.

Shuker, who has previously written for The Spinoff, tweeted to say he was thrilled with Banks’ casting. “Can’t think of anyone better,” he said.

Banks herself seems excited, too. “I need recs for good food in Auckland,” she said on Twitter. Among the suggestions: Depot, Little Jimmy, Ada and the Coffee Club Victoria Street.

Covid-19 update: 24 new deaths, 363 in hospital, 7,347 new community cases

Image: Toby Morris

The Covid-19 death toll has risen by 24, taking New Zealand’s pandemic death toll to 845. The rolling average of deaths is 15.

The deaths being reported today include 12 people who have died over the past three days and an additional 12 people who have died since April 6.

Of the latest deaths, one person was from Northland, eight from Auckland; four from Waikato; one from Bay of Plenty; one from Lakes DHB area; one from Taranaki; one from MidCentral; two from the Greater Wellington region; two from Canterbury and three from Southern. Two people were in their 40s; one in their 50s, one in their 60s; seven in their 70s; eight in their 80s and five were aged over 90.

Of these people, 13 were female and 11 were male.

There are now 363 people in hospital with Covid-19 and 18 in intensive care.

Another 7,347 community cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed. Today’s seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7,555 – a slight bump on last Friday when it was 7,540.

Auckland continues to have the most new community Covid-19 cases with 2,346.

The Friday Quiz!

The Friday News Quiz

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A message from our creative director, Toby Morris

Here at The Spinoff we’re proud to be a bit different. In the way we approach our journalism, in our tone, in the things we’re thinking about, all the way through to our design and our videos and our podcasts. We’d like to think we’re doing things in a way that no other New Zealand media organisations would.

And it’s our beloved members who let us do that – both through their financial support, and the encouragement of their engagement. They’re readers who care like we care, who are also interested in seeing things done in a slightly different way.

If you like what we’re doing and want to see more of it, have a think about joining up, and help The Spinoff be The Spinoff. Join today!

Minister admits contacting Trevor Mallard over trespass notices

Environment minister David Parker is taking on RMA reform (Image: Radio NZ/Richard Tindiller)

Labour minister David Parker has admitted he was concerned about the decision to bar former MPs, like Winston Peters, from parliament grounds.

Five former politicians were reportedly trespassed from the parliamentary precinct for a two-year period after their appearance at the large occupation back in February. The notices have since been withdrawn after legal threats and widespread backlash.

Speaking to Newshub’s AM, Parker said the backtrack by Trevor Mallard was the right move.  “I think lots of MPs contacted Trevor and said, ‘not sure you got this one right’. I was one of them,” Parker said.

“He listened to me and then he changed his mind the next day. He would say he delegated some of those decisions because he didn’t want to make the decision on who was on the list.  But he’s [Mallard] responsible for the list and Winston Peters was on it, he shouldn’t have been and he changed his mind within a day and he was right to do that.”

Why is ‘Fluff Friday’ the biggest trend on NZ Twitter?

Fluff Friday is the number one trend on New Zealand Twitter today, thanks to broadcaster Hilary Barry.

The Seven Sharp host encouraged women to share their Friday outfits in solidarity with My Food Bag founder Nadia Lim, who this week faced offensive comments directed at her my DGL boss Simon Henry.

“I mean let’s face it women of NZ you’re probably dressed as a piece of fluff already without even realising it,” wrote Barry in her tweet.

Lim was labelled “Eurasian fluff” by Henry in an interview with the NBR, prompting widespread condemnation.

Last night, Lim took to Facebook to speak out about Henry’s comments. “I don’t like being the eye of the storm, and was initially shying away from all the reporting on it,” she said. “But it hit me yesterday when I was sitting opposite a young woman of Asian blood, like myself, on the plane and we both smiled at each other.

“Then what came over me was a feeling of sadness when I started thinking about what she might feel when reading or hearing comments like that and how, over time, it could potentially be so damaging to someone’s self confidence and idea of their self-worth.”

Countdown to freeze price of 500 essential items over winter

The produce aisle: now with less plastic (Photo: Supplied by Countdown)

As the cost of living continues to grow, one New Zealand supermarket chain has moved to try and make shopping more affordable.

Countdown has announced it will freeze the prices on at least 500 essential items across the winter months. That means that even if living costs rise again, the price of items like tinned tomatoes, butter, cheese and flour will remain the same.

The price freeze begins next Monday and will remain in place for the entire winter period.

Countdown’s Steve Mills told RNZ that it was tough for consumers at the moment. “What we’re seeing is shipping rate increases up 640%, fuel costs up 30%, and these all affect pretty much everything we sell,” he said.

“We are working very closely with our suppliers and they are being very proactive about how we can both try and absorb cost, price increases and mitigate those where we can. So we try to pass on the least amount of increase as we possibly can to our customers.”

Some, however, are sceptical whether Countdown’s move is enough. Newshub reporter Michael Morrah labelled it a “PR exercise” while Consumer NZ’s chief executive Jon Duffy said it’s not actually targeting the problem. “This kind of unilateral, kind of gracious, act by Countdown isn’t fixing the underlying problem,” he said. “I do applaud the sentiment behind what Countdown is doing here, but let’s remember they have been under a sustained period of negative public sentiment.

In Australia, Countdown’s parent company Woolworths has cut prices rather than keeping them static.

It’s not yet known whether competitor chains like New World or PakN’Save will be following suit. The Spinoff has asked Foodstuffs NZ for comment.

M. bovis nearly eradicated

In another pre-budget announcement, the prime minister and biosecurity minister Damien O’Connor (last seen together in Japan with the swaying kiwifruit, who are back in a new Zespri ad), visited a milk testing lab in the Waikato yesterday to announce a $42.9 million investment in biosecurity. They also marked a milestone in the four-year effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, or M. bovis. M. bovis affects cattle and was first discovered here in 2017. As Farmer’s Weekly reports, it has so far cost $220.3 million in compensation claims and required 176,325 cattle to be culled, but there is only one property in New Zealand still infected with it.

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Second KiwiSaver fund blacklists DGL over Nadia Lim comments

Simon Henry, Nadia Lim and alleged cleavage (Image: Tina Tiller)

The backlash to a CEO’s offensive comments about My Food Bag founder Nadia Lim has continued.

Simplicity has become the second investment company to blacklist DGL, after the latter’s boss Simon Henry labelled Lim “Eurasian fluff” and linked her “cleavage” to My Food Bag’s financial performance.

So far, Henry has not addressed media about the storm surrounding him and his company. Lim, however, has called the comments about her “disappointing” and said she was saddened at the impact it could have on women of colour in business.

In comments to Stuff, Simplicity’s managing director Sam Stubbs said Henry should “make amends” with Lim. Until then, Simplicity customers would be unable to invest in DGL. “If a chief executive says something like that, and you hold their shares you’re endorsing the behaviour,” Stubbs said.

“If you want the privileges of being a public company you also accept the limitations as well, one of them is that the chief executive doesn’t make racist and misogynistic statements.”

Yesterday, Kiwi Wealth – another investment provider – added DGL to its exemption list with CEO Rhiannon McKinnon telling The Spinoff that Henry’s comments were “appalling”.