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Voting In Fonterra Elections Underway

Joint Returning Officers Kerry Heath and Pam Hikuroa said today that voting packs for the Fonterra Board of Directors election have been posted to shareholders. Just over 13,000 voting packs were sent out today. Voting will run until 17 May and results will be finalised and appointments made by 31 May.

Three Directors will be elected in a nationwide vote of Fonterra shareholders. Fonterra's Constitution currently provides for a Board of up to ten shareholder Directors and up to three independent Directors. Each year, a third of the Directors elected by the shareholders must retire. The three to retire this year were selected by lot and are seeking re-election.

The candidates (in the order they appear on the ballot paper) are: Philip van der Bijl, Gerard Lynch, Malcolm Bailey, Greg Gent, Earl Rattray, Jim van der Poel, David Graham and Colin Holmes.

The Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting system is being used for the election and shareholders will receive one ballot paper per farm. Voting for the Board is on the basis of milksolids production and shareholders have one vote for every 1,000 kg of milksolids produced. In allocating votes, production is rounded down to the nearest 1,000 kg. There is no cap on votes.

Each voting pack also contains a video of the candidates and a booklet of the candidates' profiles. Media can obtain these by contacting the company.

To enable shareholders to meet and question Board candidates face-to-face, meetings are being held for Fonterra shareholders at the following locations:

Whangarei Thursday, 2 May 10:30 am Forum NorthRust Avenue
Pukekohe Thursday, 2 May 7:30 pm Fields Conference & Banquet Centre
Stadium Drive Matamata Friday, 3 May 10:30 am Memorial Centre Tainui
Street Te Awamutu Friday, 3 May 7:30 pm Bible Chapel Chapel Drive
Rotorua Monday, 6 May 10:30 am Heritage 349 Fenton Street
Edgecumbe Monday, 6 May 7:30 pm Edgecumbe HallMain Road Palmerston
North Tuesday, 7 May 10:30 am Te Kawau Memorial Rec CentreWye Street,
Rongotea Hawera Tuesday, 7 May 7:30 pm Hawera Community Centre Albion
Street New Plymouth Wednesday, 8 May 10:30 am Plymouth International
HotelCnr Courtenay & Leach Streets Christchurch Wednesday, 8 May 7:30
pm Sudima Hotel Grand ChancellorCnr Memorial Ave & Orchard Road
Christchurch Airport Invercargill Thursday, 9 May 10:30 am Working Mens
Club154 Esk St Balclutha Thursday, 9 May 8:00 pm South Otago Town &
Country Club1 Yarmouth Street Nelson Friday, 10 May 11:00 am Waimea Old
Boys Rugby Club Gladstone Road

The meetings, which will be independently chaired by former Television New Zealand political editor Richard Harman, are closed to the media.

The Joint Returning Officers said that shareholders in ward 1 - Northern Northland - would also receive a separate voting pack for the one Shareholders' Council election to be held. There are two candidates for the one seat in ward 1: Ken Rintoul and Kevin Baxter. Voting in this election will also use the STV voting system and closes on 17 May.

As vote counting under STV is more complicated than with First-Past-The-Post, computer programs are being used for data entry and vote counting. To ensure security and the integrity of the process, each ballot paper has a unique identifying number and barcode. This is recorded in a register of voters held by the Joint Returning Officers.

When a ballot paper is received, either by post or fax, the ballot number is ticked off in the database so that the returning officers know, for example, if a ballot paper is both faxed and then posted. This ensures there are no duplicate votes.

The preferences listed on the ballot are then entered into a separate program by a data entry operator. This process is repeated by a different operator to ensure no errors are made. If any differences come up between the data the two operators have entered, the system will identify the discrepancy and the inputs are checked.

Any ballot papers which are unclear are set aside for the Joint Returning Officers to examine. Once all the ballot papers have been processed, a computer program set up for the STV voting system will be used to compute the results. This is the same program used in New York City for its elections. KPMG, the scrutineer for the elections, has reviewed the testing of the vote-counting software and associated processes.

The Joint Returning Officers said recent proposals to make changes to the structure of the board later this year did not affect the election.


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