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Westland shareholders elect two new directors

Westland shareholders elect two new directors

Westland Milk products shareholders have elected Hari Hari farmer Kirsty Robertson to represent the Southern Ward after director Jim Wafelbakker stepped down from the post after 25 years’ service.

Westland Chief Executive Rod Quin says few directors of any company could claim the record of service clocked up by Jim Wafelbakker.

“It is one of the hallmarks of Westland Milk Products that the company, because of its cooperative structure and the closeness of West Coast communities, often attracts a loyalty and record of service you’d usually associate with a family-owned business. Jim is a prime example of that. He came onto the board in 1987 and earned the loyalty of southern area shareholders right from the start. He has been an able and passionate advocate of them, and of Westland Milk Company as a whole.”

Mr Quin says he is delighted to welcome Kirsty Robertson to the board as the Southern Ward representative.

“Kirsty and her husband Gordon brought their family to Hari Hari in 2007 to fulfil their goal of farm ownership. She is a hands-on farmer who has become involved in her community and stays closely connected to farming developments, in particular issues affecting dairy farmers on the Coast. She brings a broad experience to the board that will be very welcome.”

The Robertsons milk 340 cows on Wanganui Flat Road.

Westland shareholders also elected Westport farmer Bede O’Connor to the board as a general representative. O’Connor was successful in the shareholder vote against incumbent director Jon Sullivan who had served on the board since 2006.

“After spending 15 of the last 20 years milking cows on the West Coast, Bede realised his dream of farm ownership in 2011, with a farm beside the Buller River where he milks 360 cows,” Mr Quin says. “He’s a graduate of Lincoln and has a broad hands-on experience of dairying on the Coast. He brings that educational and practical experience to the board.”

Mr Quin says both the new directors represent the solid and practical base of West Coast dairy farming.

“I fully expect they will be active contributors to the discussions on the company direction as it seeks to improve shareholders’ incomes by moving increasingly into the more stable and higher value nutritionals market.

“It’s an exciting period for the company but one that also presents some real challenges. I look forward to their input.”

ends

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