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Current as of 26/05/17 07:40PM NZST

'Cold, hard facts' needed in dairy share trading

By Sally Rae

Photo / Sarah Ivey
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Debate over Fonterra's controversial trading among farmers proposal continues to rage with Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink saying the lobbying from all sides is "frankly unbelievable".

What were desperately needed were "cold hard facts" about the value proposition TAF offered to farmer-shareholders, Leferink said.

He was saddened by Simon Couper's resignation last week as chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders' Council. Couper quit citing his lack of comfort with some aspects of TAF.

"Simon is a man of honour and it speaks volumes that he stuck to his guns under what is an intense pressure-cooker environment," Leferink said. "The lobbying is frankly unbelievable from all sides."

The council, which resolved last week to support the introduction of TAF, had been "deeply involved" at all stages of the development of the concept for implementation and had also conducted its own due diligence process with independent advisers involved, said Ian Brown, who replaced Couper as chairman.

The council had been focused on ensuring that TAF would not threaten 100 per cent farmer shareholder ownership and control or the integrity of the milk price, he said.

South Island Dairy Farmers managing director Paul Brown believed TAF, if implemented in its current form, potentially would "seal the end of the industry as we know it".

He said the world was "littered with broken dairy companies" which had let dry shareholders/friendly investors into their business, breaking the simple, effective, proven co-operative model.


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