Gore farmer Hugh Gardyne intends to move a vote of no confidence in the board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand at the organisation’s annual meeting in New Plymouth on Thursday.
In his presentation, which he sent to the Otago Daily Times, Gardyne said the move was specifically for its support of He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), the primary sector climate action partnership.
He had been a strong advocate of B+LNZ all his farming life but the board’s “patronage” of the sitting Labour Government was unprecedented, he believed.
“Meetings arranged to inform us on HWEN and discuss the Government’s response have been straight-out lectures with no time or inclination to listen to any opposing solutions. This is a time of reckoning,” he said.
Gardyne said the vote of no confidence would only get voted on by annual meeting attendees - there would be no proxy votes - and it was non-binding on the board.
B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison, whose term as a director will conclude at the end of the annual meeting after he was beaten by Geoffrey Young in the recent Southern South Island farmer direction election, said every farmer had the chance to submit a remit.
Eight farmer remits had earlier been received by B+LNZ, yet Gardyne had chosen to bring his presentation to the board on the annual meeting day. And there were already specifically two remits around HWEN - one that B+LNZ exit HWEN immediately, and the other outlining principles that should be upheld.
The vote of no confidence could only be voted on by those in the room and that was not reflective of wider New Zealand. The board would listen to the sentiment in the room, take it away and consider it, Morrison said.
HWEN had been such a complex conversation and, if farmers wanted to exit it, Morrison questioned if they were aware of what the other option was.
Among the remits was one from Graeme Gleeson proposing that B+LNZ did not, at any time, commit to a policy and/or recommendation which might have significant ramifications for levy payers, without prior best-practice consultation with levy payers that would solicit and seek their agreement to proceed.
Jane Smith proposed an independent review immediately be engaged, analysing the process of how B+LNZ currently assembled a mandate that reflected the wishes of their levy payers, along with the effectiveness and transparency of all advocacy that B+LNZ undertook in policy, on behalf of all levy payers.
Morrison said that due to the Covid-19 years - which made meetings with people difficult - and also with the race of regulations, B+LNZ understood that farmers did not think they had time to go through everything that had been going on.
But B+LNZ did not drive the regulatory change, it was responding to it. The board would not take any of the concerns raised flippantly, he said.