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Careful Thinking By Sharemilkers Called For

20 December 1999
PR141/99

CAREFUL THINKING BY SHAREMILKERS CALLED FOR

The Chairman of the Sharemilkers' Section of Dairy Farmers of New Zealand, Michael Pallesen, today called on sharemilkers to think carefully before signing any new sharemilking contracts.

"There is so much going on in the industry that no one can say with any certainty what payment structures will be in place when new contracts take effect next season," said Mr Pallesen. "I would urge all sharemilkers to discuss their situation with a Sharemilkers' Committee member, and to build flexibility into their new contracts."

"The Merge Co establishment board working party looking at sharemilking issues is making very good progress; and if the Mega merger goes ahead, Merge Co is likely to formally recognise the value of sharemilking to the industry," said Mr Pallesen.

"If the merger does not proceed, one of the large companies has indicated that the working party's recommendations are likely to be included in future changes."

"The news is very good for both sharemilkers and sharemilker employers, as any changes to the status quo can be addressed with industry standard guidelines, with some flexibility and with confidence by both parties."

The working party is also drafting additional clauses for the standard contract to anticipate the proposed changes. These are unlikely to be available before February.

For sharemilkers and employers signing contracts before then, there are several options. They could either sign the industry standard contract - a current Federated Farmers sharemilking agreement - with the provision that any new industry standard contract released before 1 June 2000 will supersede the original and is to be adopted.

Alternatively, they could sign the current Federated Farmers sharemilking agreement and state in writing that neither party is disadvantaged by any change in payment structures. The contract is available by telephoning 0800 FARMING.

"A statement of intent is also a good option and a feature we are likely to see more of in contracts in the future. In any event, more than ever it is imperative that sharemilkers take advice before signing contracts," concluded Mr Pallesen.

ENDS

For further information: Michael Pallesen 06-856-5491 or
025-790-290
Kevin Petersen 04-473-7269


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