Sir Henry van der Heyden, former head of dairy giant Fonterra, has apologised “to China, its people and its government” for saying that New Zealand businesses should “never” trust Chinese partners, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Van der Heyden broke at lunchtime from his final board meeting as a Fonterra director to issue his public apology over comments made at a Tauranga business women’s conference.
“It was an ill-judged comment taken out of context,” he told the Business Herald. “I apologise to China, its people and its Government.”
“China is where New Zealand’s future is.”
Asked by an export manufacturer about how Kiwi businesspeople could avoid being ripped off when operating in China, Van der Heyden said “That’s my point about China. You will be full of surprises. Don’t ever trust them…never…”
Inevitably, Van der Heyden’s (not that offensive) remarks didn’t go down well with Chinese representatives to New Zealand, hence the businessman’s quick apology.
Image credit: @jaiyo