3 May 2000 PR36/2000
Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Chairman Charlie Pedersen said today that his organisation has been snookered in its efforts to hold forums so farmers could express their views on the dairy industry's direction.
"DFNZ planned to run eight open farmer forums throughout the country, beginning in Stratford in Central Taranaki. But its efforts to hold these farmer meetings are being blocked."
"The plan was to invite industry leaders and commentators to fill in some missing details for farmers. After all, it is farmers who own the industry, and who have indicated overwhelmingly that industry unity is essential," said Mr Pedersen.
"An international consultancy firm offered to provide a speaker on global trends and the importance of critical mass. This offer has now been withdrawn, and the firm's explanation is that their wish to continue working in the New Zealand dairy industry precludes them from being involved with these meetings."
"In addition, the New Zealand Dairy Board - for the first time ever in my experience - has declined an invitation to provide a speaker for a farmers meeting. The NZDB has informed me they are not allowed."
"The NZ Dairy Group directors that DFNZ had sought, Doug Leeder and Jim Van der Poel, were initially willing but have been refused permission to speak by their Chairman, Henry van der Heyden."
"The aim was to achieve maximum cross-pollination of ideas by using Kiwi Co-op Dairy directors in NZDG's areas and NZDG directors in Kiwi's areas. "
"The DFNZ Executive, and dairy farmers, are left with the Large Herds Association speaker, Farmers for Control's Catherine Bull, and myself. Although we understand the issues perfectly well, the profile and breadth of discussion DFNZ hoped to engineer is now significantly reduced," commented Mr Pedersen.
For further information Charlie Pedersen 025-463-480 or 06-329-9896 Kevin Petersen 04-473-7269 (wk)