The Labour Party has launched into the controversy surrounding Fonterra's latest restructuring by saying chief executive Theo Spierings should take a voluntary pay cut "to restore credibility with farmers and staff".

Spierings' salary has been estimated to be worth about $4 million a year.

"The events of the last week have shaken the farming sector's confidence in Fonterra, and the chief executive must take responsibility," Labour's Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor said in a statement.

"Theo Spierings should lead by example and voluntarily reduce his pay by half," he said.


"Farmers are grumbling and staff are unsettled following the news that hundreds will lose their jobs as the diary price continues to fall," he said.

"Fonterra is crucial to farming in New Zealand and our wider economy. Its chief executive must be responsible for what has been a chaotic response to the challenges facing the dairy industry.

"Our farming sector needs Fonterra to get back on course. A voluntary pay cut will send a strong message that Theo Spierings is serious about righting the ship," O'Connor said.