Tatua director Ross Townshend resigns over disrespectful social media post about Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta

Tatua director Ross Townshend has resigned from the dairy company after coming under fire for a social media post about Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. 

The Facebook post, which has since been deleted, contained an image and text and disrespectfully described Mahuta. It was widely condemned online with users calling it "racist", "disgusting" and "appalling". 

Tatua Chairman Stephen Allen said the post was "incompatible" with the company's culture and values. 

"On Monday evening, it was brought to my attention that Mr Townshend had posted highly inappropriate messaging on social media in relation to a Minister of Parliament. 

"Mr Townshend's personal views and the way he chose to express them are incompatible with Tatua's culture and values. Therefore, his actions left me with no other course of action than to accept his resignation on behalf of the Tatua Board of Directors," he said.  

Allen said he will contact Mahuta's office to apologise for the post. 

"Over the 25 years that I have been involved as a director of Tatua including 18 years as  Chairman, the company has had mutually respectful and warm relationships with Ministers and government officials of all parties.

"We also have incredibly good and long-standing relationships with our community, including local Iwi. An incident of such offensive disrespect is simply not who we are."

The post received widespread criticism online with one person calling it "utterly gross".

"That is absolutely disgusting," another said. 

"I'm so proud of Nanaia that this person’s vile spew of words just washes off like water on a duck's back - what she represents for indigenous women across the world is priceless," another added.