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Dairy Companies Form New Association

For Immediate Release 18 July, 2003

Dairy Companies Form New Association

New Zealand's major dairy companies have formed a new association to represent the manufacturing and marketing arms of the dairy industry on domestic and international public policy issues.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) was formally constituted at a meeting in Wellington today (July 18). The five foundation members include Fonterra Co-operative Group, Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, Westland Co-operative Dairy Company, Mainland Products and New Zealand Dairy Foods.

Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden welcomed the new association saying it would perform a vital role in representing the joint interests of the dairy industry which was New Zealand's biggest export earner.

Mr van der Heyden said DCANZ would fulfil the role formerly carried out by the New Zealand Dairy Board before it became part of Fonterra. "Fonterra cannot directly represent the whole industry on trade and other policy issues as the Dairy Board used to do. We need DCANZ to ensure there is effective liaison between the dairy companies and round out the new industry architecture."

The founding members said DCANZ would approach other NZ dairy companies to join the new association, which would be funded by membership subscription.

"There are over 150 other registered dairy entities in NZ," said Mr Ian Robb, the chairman of Westland Co-operative. "We are very keen to see broad membership so all views are represented on the new association."

Dr Alan Frampton, the chairman of Tatua Co-operative, said he particularly welcomed DCANZ as it would preserve one of the best features of the old industry structure, "which was our ability to speak with one voice on policy issues. The association will work in the best interests of the New Zealand dairy industry as a whole"

Peter McClure, CEO of New Zealand Dairy Foods, said DCANZ would fill an important gap in the current dairy industry structure. "Its main purpose will be to co-ordinate and represent the collective public policy interests of its member dairy companies in New Zealand and overseas."

Members will pool resources for policy analysis to enable DCANZ to engage in advocacy with authorities in New Zealand and overseas. Policy issues could include anything that might impact on the manufacturing, trade and marketing of dairy products, including issues affecting the public perception of dairy products. While most of these issues were "beyond the farm gate", such as the Doha Round of WTO agriculture negotiations, some, like environmental management and animal welfare practices, transcended the farm gate and would also fall within the purview of the new association.

Mr van der Heyden said DCANZ would want to work closely with other organisations that had an interest in these issues including Federated Farmers and Dairy Insight.

The meeting elected Fonterra director Mr Earl Rattray, as the inaugural chairman of DCANZ. Mr Rattray said Fonterra would provide secretariat staff to get DCANZ up and running and its Government and Trade team was well placed to provide ongoing advice to DCANZ members on policy developments in Wellington and overseas.


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