Fonterra's high court injunction is causing "the Streisand effect", with Fonterra's farmer-shareholders now anxious to know what is being kept from them, says Federated Farmers.
National dairy chairman Chris Lewis said his phone has rung constantly with inquiries since Fonterra late on Friday secured an injunction gagging former director Leonie Guiney and preventing a weekly publication publishing or using any "confidential" information it received from her.
The injunction also prevents other unnamed media, including the New Zealand Herald, from spreading any "confidential" information it may have received from Guiney.
"It's having the Barbra Streisand effect, now everyone wants to know what is the truth. It's put a massive spotlight on it. At one stage my phone was just vibrating," Lewis said.
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The Streisand effect is the phenomenon named after American singer Barbra Streisand, whereby an attempt to hide, remove or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely.
Streisand in 2003 attempted to suppress photographs of her home in Malibu, California which drew public attention to it.
Lewis said the federation's dairy executive is meeting the Fonterra Shareholder Council chairman Duncan Coull and five of his senior councillors in Wellington tomorrow.
It's a routine six-monthly discussion between the two groups, but Lewis said the first question his dairy team will be asking the councillors is what is going on with Fonterra?
"Our guys are pretty direct. There's a lot of farmer money invested in Fonterra. Farmers want to know what's going on."
The council is elected by Fonterra's farmer-owners to represent their interests in the cooperative company.
When invited to respond, Fonterra referred the New Zealand Herald to an email sent to its farmer-shareholders following the injunction, which said the board of directors looked forward to having "open and quality" conversations with them directly during the roadshow following Fonterra's half-year financial results on March 21.