Fonterra's 2019 interim report is a thing of simplicity and plain-speaking compared to the the imagery flash and hype of last year's effort.

The embattled big dairy company has pledged to get back to basics and certainly the interim results warranted a subdued presentation.

New Zealand's biggest company is back in the black, but earnings were weak, there was no interim dividend and debt is a hovering spectre.

But this time last year Fonterra posted a $348 net loss and its busy, busy interim report bristled with happy photos, self-congratulation and oblique inside jargon.


Mercifully absent from this year's report are pages littered with "useful facts", and hyped-up headlines like "A strong co-op - doing what's right", "Our potential" and "Building the foundations for our future success."

Equally unmourned is the absence of any mention of "Velocity" as in last year's "A strong V3 co-op" and similar jargony fluff, when Fonterra's farmer-owners really wanted an explanation why their share price was falling and debt was going through the roof.

The messages from new chairman Monaghan, who has said he wants to "take the shine off" the way Fonterra conducts itself, and new chief executive Miles Hurrell are also devoid of gloss. Fonterra needs to do much, much better, they say.

With half the photos and graphics but twice the information, at 58 pages the latest interim report still manages to be longer than last year's.