Following the leak of a confidential letter to Sir Henry van der Heyden, Fonterra Board members, Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Board and Federated Farmers’ own Board, Federated Farmers has sent the letter to all members of Federated Farmers Dairy.
“There is way too much rumour and speculation around Trading Among Farmers. This isn’t helped by the letter and our internal emails being leaked to the media,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.
“To prevent further speculation about what this letter may or may not contain and given sections of the media already have it, we’ve elected to share it with our members. They’re the ones we work for and they’re the ones who ultimately will have the say.
“Being the chairperson of Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group, my sole aim is to ensure the long term interests of dairy farmers and the dairy industry in New Zealand.
“To that end we will robustly and independently represent the concerns of our dairy members who make up the majority of Fonterra’s shareholder-suppliers.
“Last Friday, at our 2012 Dairy Council in Palmerston North, we passed the following remit:
That Federated Farmers Dairy strongly recommends the board of Fonterra take the finalised TAF [Trading Among Farmers] proposal, inclusive of proposed DIRA [Dairy Industry Restructuring Act] TAF provisions, back to shareholder suppliers for another vote.
It is our view that the evolution in detail and complexity inherent in the TAF proposal, and yet to be released information, relative to what was initially voted on, deserves further consultation, understanding and debate among shareholders before it is advanced fully. It is the Federation’s view that the current TAF proposal compromises the cooperative values and presents real risks to supplier shareholders maintaining 100% control and 100% ownership.
“Much of what’s in Trading Among Farmers makes sense to me. The big sticking point for our members seems to come down to the proposed Shareholders Fund,” Mr Leferink concluded.