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John Palmer to Chair Candidate Assessment Panel

MEDIA STATEMENT
24 March 2006

John Palmer to Chair Fonterra Candidate Assessment Panel

John Palmer has been appointed Chairman of a panel that will assess candidates for the Fonterra Director Elections.

Mr Palmer, Chairman of Air New Zealand, joins the five-member Candidate Assessment Panel being implemented by the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council this year.

The role of the panel is to provide Fonterra shareholders with an assessment of the qualifications, capabilities and experience of candidates intending to stand for election to the Fonterra Board.

Other members of the panel are Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman John Monaghan, Shareholders’ Councillor Paul Todd, Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden and Fonterra Director Greg Gent.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman John Monaghan said: “John Palmer has extensive boardroom and international experience within the agricultural and finance sectors. His background also gives him considerable knowledge of how a co-operative works. The skills and experience he will bring to the role of Independent Chairman of the Candidate Assessment Panel will be invaluable.

“The panel is designed to enhance the electoral process for Fonterra’s farmer shareholders. The panel’s goal is to provide shareholders with better information on the credentials of potential directors, thus encouraging shareholder participation in the elections. Shareholders retain the right to vote for the candidate of their choice, but they will have more information with which to make that choice.”

Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden said: “Strong governance is critical to the on-going success of our co-operative. We want to encourage new people into the process and this panel will enable them to test their capabilities and receive a full appreciation of the requirements of the role of Director in New Zealand’s largest business.”

The panel will assess candidates’ competency against criteria including governance and communication, strategic thinking, international experience/perspective, business and finances as well as industry knowledge. Fonterra shareholders will be informed whether or not assessed candidates meet the criteria although candidates will not be ranked.

Once the evaluation process is complete, candidates may either confirm their candidacy or withdraw in confidence. It will not be compulsory for candidates to be assessed by the panel and assessment outcomes will not restrict candidates from standing for election.

Candidates will be given feedback on their evaluations and those who do not meet the criteria will be given the opportunity to be referred to development programmes co-ordinated by the Council and Fonterra.

Nominations for the Fonterra Director Elections open in July with the elections being held in October.

ENDS

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