My discussion on Linkedin In with Sir Ian Taylor was never intended to involve rugby or my involvement with the Hurricanes as a shareholder and board director.
However, it is clear that this has become the central focus for the media rather than the important issues around New Zealanders being proud of the many incredible historical achievements of ALL of our ancestors, whether they be European, Maori or any other lineage.
For at least six months the Hurricanes board has been working through a capital restructure in preparation for the ending of the current license term on 31 August. In February I made the decision to exit my shareholding after 31 August due to the terms of the new license. I understand other private investors are also taking the opportunity to change their shareholding. The Hurricanes Board will confirm that these discussions have been taking place for several months and I have now notified the Chairman that I intend to accept the offer which has been made for my shares on terms with which I am very happy.
I wish the Hurricanes franchise well, I have always loved rugby and I am proud of the contribution I have made to the Hurricanes and to rugby in Wellington and the wider region, in particular to the Alumni Foundation which helps players post career and those with serious life-affecting injuries.
I note that Sir Ian Taylor agreed the comments were not racist and welcomed the opportunity to debate the different opinions that had been raised. I agree with him that such debate is healthy and constructive at times when people feel strongly about issues that may polarise or divide and thank him for his willingness to engage.
I am concerned about the future of our wonderful country where I believe freedom of speech is at risk. I would like to acknowledge the overwhelmingly positive support I’ve received from hundreds of people who share my concerns, including many from the Maori community. Many people are simply too afraid to speak up out of fear. Living in a society where a culture of fear restricts the freedom of speech is not something that we as a country should accept.
Is the Prime Minister willing to comment on whether my remarks would be considered Hate Speech, prosecutable under the proposed legislation? If she cannot – we should all be very concerned.
Please note Mr Bowker will not be commenting further on this issue.
Please share this BFD article so others can discover The BFD.