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Tatua Dairy Company Shows Way Ahead For Dairy

ACT Agriculture Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff yesterday praised Tatuanui based Tatua Co-op Dairy Company for showing the way ahead for the Dairy industry.

Gerry Eckhoff was speaking after meeting representatives of the Tatua Dairy Company near Morrinsville as part of the ACT Rural Tour of Waikato and New Plymouth this week. Tatua is one of seven New Zealand dairy co-operatives and has topped the highest milk solid payouts to farmers list for the last six years. It has invested intensively, with a focus on producing for high value-added biotechnology markets.

“ACT’s visit to Tatua vividly illustrated how well companies who use their initiative, can prepare for a deregulated environment. An environment where performance rather than political accountability are what directors are judged on,” he said.

“The current blurred line of governance between Dairy Board and dairy company directors is absolutely bizarre,” he said.

“Tatua's success is due to its directors who read the signals in the past and have taken the company on to become New Zealand’s number one dairy company. This illustrates the absolute necessity for directors to show leadership and vision, attributes that are clearly lacking from the Dairy Board’s current players,” said Gerry Eckhoff.

“The question must be asked as to why agreement cannot be reached between Kiwi Dairy Company, New Zealand Dairy Group and the Dairy Board. It is not hard to wonder whether there is a link between the major conflict of interest in the roles played by big company representatives and the inability to confirm a deal,” he said.

“The New Zealand Dairy Board, which controls the single desk marketing business, is made up of elected representatives from New Zealand dairy companies. Currently, of the Board’s 11 elected directors, all but one is from Kiwi Dairy Company or the New Zealand Dairy Group,” he said.

“The current structure can only be seen as a major impediment to uniformity of interests in the industry,” he said.

“”The directors have an obligation to their shareholders to either put forward a workable plan, with adequate information for farmers, to end the deadlock, or resign forthwith, to enable those with vision and enterprise to take this hugely important industry into the future,” said Gerry Eckhoff.


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