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BusinessDesk: 10,500 farmers get voting packs for June 25 special meeting on controversial changes

Rural News
BusinessDesk: 10,500 farmers get voting packs for June 25 special meeting on controversial changes

A mass mail-out is under way to Fonterra Cooperative Group's 10,500 farmer shareholders of the voting packs for the June 25 special meeting on the controversial Trading Among Farmers scheme.

The vote is the second time the Fonterra board has sought support from the cooperative dairy exporter's members to allow the creation of tradeable, dividend-bearing, non-voting investment units that will give non-farmer investors exposure to Fonterra's earnings for the first time.

A previous mandate was gained in June 2010, but did not present farmers with a detailed scheme. The June 25 meeting second vote was sought because foreign partners were expressing concerning that farmers did not support the move.

The Fonterra Shareholders' Council, a watchdog body, has examined the detailed TAF proposal and endorsed it by an "overwhelming" majority, although the sitting chair of the council, Simon Couper, resigned because of his concern the proposals did not sufficiently guarantee the bottom-line of 100 percent farmer ownership.

Today's mail-out coincides with the release of a 111-page Commerce Commission report examining how Fonterra's regulated milk price system will work under the new regime, since the milk price formula dictates the cooperative's earnings.

The voting pack contains the information on resolutions to be considered by the meeting, a Special Meeting Voting Paper, and a combined Special Meeting/Proxy Form (to vote for the Special Meeting resolutions in person at the meeting or to appoint a person to attend and vote on your behalf).

Voting is now open, with online, fax and postal voting options covered in the pack.

The special meeting will be held at 10.30am on June 25 in Hamilton, with simultaneous broadcast to venues in Whangarei, Rotorua, Hawera, Palmerston North, Nelson, Ashburton, Invercargill.

The results will be announced as soon as the vote counting is complete and will be available on Fencepost via


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The purpose of a cooperative is to maximise return from collecting, processing and selling product from supplying shareholders. It has been a successful model in primary industries throughout the world for over 100 years, and one that respected economist Ha-Joon Chang uses to differentiate developed economies from developing. There are plenty of cases where cooperatives have accepted external investment with resulting tensions destroying its original purpose and disenfranchising supplying shareholders. There are no examples of cooperatives having accepted external capital, going on to prosper, let alone retain integrity in serving supplying shareholders.



David Carter is not only wilfully ignorant in his support, but definietly out of line.     P3

He is meddling with peoples livelihood with real and dire consequences,  his incompetence never ceases to amaze. Any intelligent shareholder can clearly trace the instability undermining Fonterra to inept and misguided legislation which has only destroyed value in the dairy industry, to the detriment of farming and the NZ economy. There are political motives at play. which contravene acceptable ethics. 



Aside from this, the boards excuse for TAF to manage redemption is a misnomer. Redemption risk is a crucial facet of successful cooperatives throughout the world, in that it drives performance otherwise the board is voted out. However in the case of Fonterra this is more difficult, as votes are attached to shareholding, thus favoring large scale corporate type operations, which happen to be highly leveraged. In my opinion TAF will allow some to dig themselves out of a hole, their incompetence and greed got them in.



Lachlan McKensie is right when claiming the current generation of shareholders, led by the board are selling cooperative capital accumulated by previous generations of development, and leaving nothing for the future.'s-taf-scheme

It's not an opportunity to propell Fonterra into the rhelm of Nestle, and save NZs capital market, but a travesty which will destroy the earning potential of a dynamic export industry based on NZs strategic strengths, to the detriment of the whole economy. Opportunity lost.


"Today's mail-out coincides with the release of a 111-page Commerce Commission report ..."

Coincidence? I think not ... this is being carefully managed by Fonterra and the government which makes me very suspicious. John Key has come into his second term with a clear agenda to privatise and not just the electricity companies, Sold energy etc. but also Fonterra.

How such a major change to Fonterra's constitution can be passed with only a 50% majority is alarming. Farmers against the proposal should look at getting together to bring a case against the legality of this change. I'm sure it would raise a big can of worms.



So what is your 'mandate' figure Mr Chairman - 55%?

We propose to decrease the threshold on the size of the fund from 25 perc ent to 20 per cent of total shares,  20% is still too high - 15% is the maximum it should be. I won't get to see the pack till next week, but 20% will ensure my vote is a 'no' vote.…