NZ cafe closed for not offering milk for coffees

05 Sep, 2018 04:00 AM
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Morgan Redfern-Hardisty is shutting down his cafe because he won't serve dairy milk.
We own the container, we don't charge him any rent...but he has denied our customers choice.
Morgan Redfern-Hardisty is shutting down his cafe because he won't serve dairy milk.

A New Zealand cafe owner is being shut down because he is refusing to use cow milk in his coffees.

Morgan Redfern-Hardisty runs Mangawhai's Cool Beans Cafe at the Mangawhai Activity Zone - a recreation area that's run by a community group.

On July 27 he announced the container cafe would only offer plant-based products, including plant-based milk for the coffees.

Mr Redfern-Hardisty said banning dairy would reduce the cafe's impact on the environment, provide healthy alternatives and meant he wasn't using and exploiting animals.

But after complaints from park users, the Mangawhai Activity Zone Charitable Trust held a committee vote and decided if Mr Redfern-Hardisty refused to give customers the option of dairy milk, his site contract would be ended.

Cool Beans will close after Labour Weekend.

Mr Redfern-Hardistry said he was being shut down because he wouldn't offer dairy products alongside his non-dairy products.

Mangawhai Activity Zone trustee chairman Colin Gallagher said the committee voted to close Redfern-Hardisty's operation because of the complaints from people wanting a "normal" coffee at the park.

He wouldn't say what the vote numbers were, but said it wasn't close.

"We have been extremely supportive of this guy," Mr Gallagher said.

"We own the container, we don't charge him any rent, we don't charge him for power, we don't charge him for water.

"That's where it is. Any customer should have a choice of whether there is plant-based or dairy-based milk in their coffee."

He said they would be fine with Redfern-Hardisty putting up a sign encouraging people to try plant milk coffees - as long as they could get a dairy coffee if they still wanted that.

Mr Gallagher said there would be no problem finding a replacement. "People are clamouring at the door," he said.

He said it was clear the overall community wanted the option of normal coffee from the cafe at the park.

Mr Redfern-Hardisty said he had been flooded with support.

"People want change," he said. "They want more of these kind of cafes."

He said he became vegan after a trip to India last year and said it was a struggle to carry on serving dairy through last summer.

After "a bit too many sleepless nights" and rising guilt he decided to drop dairy from his menu.

"I was the middle man between mums at the park supporting mother enslavement in a broad sense, that was kind of how I saw it," he said.

"I'm a man of karma and that was no good karma."

He said the contract that said he had to restart selling dairy and non-dairy products is "basically an ultimatum of lie down your morals or you can't continue, which is just bollocks in this day and age".

"It's up to the committee if they want to turn over the decision on this crazy contract. I've put it to the people because that is where the power is.

"If they want me to stay, I'll stay, If they want me to move on, I'll do something else somewhere else. They just have to accept I'm not going to sell dairy."

He said he wasn't angry, just more disappointed and frustrated that some people aren't open to change.

Supporters have set up petition to back him on change.org, which has quickly closing on its 5000 signature goal. Supporters also point out that Mr Redfern-Hardisty raised more than $1000 for the park by shaving his dreadlocks off in a public fundraising event.

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