By Niva Chittock of RNZ
Silver Fern Farms has announced it will no longer be working with the Gloriavale Christian community.
"Silver Fern Farms has decided to begin the process to discontinue any commercial arrangements with Value Proteins [Gloriavale's trading company]. We will now be working with all parties involved to bring this into effect," a spokesperson said.
It is believed the decision is based on the Employment Court ruling that members of the community who worked up to 70 hours a week for years, were not volunteers, and employment standards should be enforced.
Ex-resident David Ready welcomed the news.
"Gloriavale have had no self-imposed checks and balances and the people who are doing business with them, will see who they're doing business with and it's not going to look good for them and their business model," he said.
"Especially when everyone's trying to be clean, green, respectful and healthy towards their suppliers and customers."
Ready suspected it would have been hard for contractors and external companies to know what the conditions were like inside the meal plant at Gloriavale.
"When you walk into any normal business, you don't really think about whether the workers are being treated fairly because ... there's a fair amount of independence and autonomy. So I think it's kind of been taken for granted [that Gloriavale is the same] by these companies."
"But I don't think they could've known unless they really seriously dug into it, which would probably then strain the business relationship."
He hoped Silver Ferns Farms' move set a precedent for other contractors involved with the community.
Last week, Westland Milk also announced it would be looking to suspend milk collection from Gloriavale-operated dairy farms.
Alliance Group, a meat processor which operates sites across the country, confirmed it is looking into its business relations with the community too.
Chief executive David Surveyor said, "We are currently reviewing our relationship with Value Proteins and have requested further information from them".