It’s Duncan Garner’s turn to be held accountable as he makes good on a promise to go vegan for a year.
Garner made the pledge in July, saying he would give up animal products if Labour won enough votes to govern alone in Saturday’s general election.
Duncan Garner said he would make good on his promise to go vegan for a year
He said he would have his own accountability system in the form of his three children.
“Got my little police squad on me, [son] Buster and the girls,” he told Stuff.
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None of the kids thought he would be able to last the year on plant-based diet, which was an extra incentive.
”I have to prove it to myself, and the people who take an interest in it, but also to the kids.”
Garner said he made the promise, which he called “a bet with the public”, on a whim.
Back in July, he and The AM Show co-host Mark Richardson had been talking about veganism on air when Richardson, a vocal National party supporter, began bemoaning the possibility of an outright Labour win.
”I’ve opened my big fat trap and said ‘Mark, don’t worry mate, they won’t become a majority government. If they do, you know what, I’ll go vegan’. I was trying to reassure him Labour won’t be a full majority government, it’s as outrageous as me being vegan.”
He also put it in writing in a Newshub column.
Despite the spur-of-the moment nature of the wager, Garner had never considered not going through with it or trying to find a way to wriggle out.
“I’m not going to wait for the specials to be counted or seek any legal advice via Winston Peters to make my decision,” he said.
“I’m calling this early. I’m going vegan.”
Early is right. After arriving at work yesterday morning to a pile of phone messages from viewers reminding him of the pledge, Garner started eating vegan last night, giving himself very little time to plan or prepare.
One of his first thoughts about veganism was: “Shivers, I’m going to be bankrupted.”
On a trip to the supermarket last night to stock up on plant-based supplies he was surprised at how much he spent, Garner said.
But several people had since been in touch with cost-saving tips.
Elena Elisseeva 123RF
Garner was looking forward to preparing vegan food.
“I got some emails saying that’s crap mate, you can easily feed yourself with chickpea curry and dahl, which is really yummy anyway. A lot of people have said to me it’s not that hard to do.”
So far the support from the public had been huge and greatly outweighed any negative reactions, he said, even if Richardson told him during this morning’s episode that he wouldn’t invite Garner to his house as long he was vegan.
Garner had enjoyed reading all the recipes he had been sent, and hoped his year of veganism would be an incentive to get back to cooking, something he used to enjoy but which had fallen by the wayside since his marriage ended in 2018.
Several companies had offered him vegan meals or meal kits, while organisations such as SAFE and PETA had expressed their delight and support.
Of Garner’s co-host, he had support from Amanda Gillies, but had already copped flack from Mark Richardson.
For advice he would also turn to newsreader Amanda Gillies, who he said was “a Monday-to-Thursday vegan”.
And he would be consulting a nutritionist “to make sure this vegan diet is powering the machine”.
A lack of energy was his biggest concern.
“I have to perform in the mornings, but also be there throughout the day with my family and my boy.”
It was too early to say how difficult he would find the diet to maintain over 12 months.
”I’m open to I could fail, and maybe I will but maybe I won’t. I’m going to embark on a – that dreadful word -journey, and I may end up really loving it.”
Garner thought there might be benefits to the diet such as potential weight loss, but he wouldn’t become a “die-hard vegan” and change his ethical beliefs. He wouldn’t stop fishing or wearing leather shoes.
His moral conviction came from a place of accountability.
“I’ve chased scoundrels, thieves and politicians out office for years and sometimes I’ve even chased them back into office, but if I didn’t do this it would not be worth me hanging around in this industry much longer I need to do this just to say that I did it. I believe in – do I sound like Winston? – I believe in doing what I say.”
Garner said he would keep The AM Show viewers and listeners updated on his progress over the course of the year, but thought interest would quickly die down.
He imagined the headlines if the diet went wrong and he died of malnutrition.
“Host dies after a week of being vegan. Community is rocked by the death; everybody else hasn’t noticed.”