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It will be a big year financially for Fonterra, as the dairy co-op moves it focus to getting back to basics after a "tough" 2018.

Chief Financial Officer Marc Rivers told The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum, that Fonterra had plans to pay its debt and to get back to being "the strong co-op that we are."

As the new CFO, Rivers said his approach would be "finding the truth," and "being the objective voice ... that helps us in making better decisions."

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To achieve this, Rivers said he would surround himself "with the best possible people," and create an environment where colleagues feel able to "speak their mind."

"I think that's really critical, because there are plenty of smart folks around. Just let them have their say and you'll have a better chance of coming up with the best decision."

Fonterra had already started making changes with more detailed annual results at the end of last year said Rivers.

'People really appreciated the amount of disclosure that we provided."

Also in today's interview: Rivers talks about his background and pays tribute to former Fonterra chairman John Wilson who died earlier this week.

Listen below: