Tuesday, 20 December 2016 08:55

Journalist gutted over Massey Chancellor resignation

Written by 
Chris Kelly. Chris Kelly.

The Rural News journalist who wrote the story about Massey chancellor Chris Kelly commenting on the state of the veterinary profession says he’s gutted at the outcome of the story.

Peter Burke says he is sad and angry at the way Kelly has been pilloried in the media, and some of his comments had been taken out of context. Burke says he has known Kelly for many years and has huge respect for his scholarship and leadership and believes it is unfair to accuse him of sexism.

“In my experience, Chris has been a champion of equal rights and instead of attacking his comments people should have seen this as an opportunity to engage in the wider positive debate about the state of the veterinary profession, which needs to happen.”

Burke says Kelly, as chancellor of Massey, was an inspiring leader and a practical agriculturalist who had been trying to drive changes that would have made Massey an even greater agricultural university.

“The attacks on Chris were totally unwarranted and unnecessary and I feel gutted that my actions in writing what I regard as an honest and fair piece of journalism has resulted in this outcome,” he says.

Merlyn Hay, a senior vet with 15 years experience wrote, “This is outrageous sexist nonsense and is insulting to male and female graduates. I can’t believe it’s been published and am embarrassed the chancellor would have such an outdated attitude.”

However, Mike Porter took a different view tweeting: “Not a sexist statement. He’s merely stating an observation and his opinion is based on experience. Lighten up for goodness sake.”

Kelly is a Massey University graduate who worked as a veterinarian and for 12 years headed the state-owned enterprise Landcorp before he retired in 2013. He has been a member of the Massey University council since 2005 and chancellor since 2014. The chancellor chairs the University council, which is responsible for governance of the university.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2016 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to agriculture.

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