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Fonterra Bites The Hand That Feeds It

Fonterra Bites The Hand That Feeds It

Thursday 19 Jun 2003
Gerry Eckhoff
Press Releases -- Rural

ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today lodged a formal complaint with the New Zealand Commerce Commission over Fonterra's intention to reject milk from dairy farmers who do not meet its environmental and animal welfare standards.

"Fonterra's position within the dairy industry gives it extraordinary powers of coercion. While Fonterra's signing of an accord to promote environmental outcomes on dairy farms is laudable, it should not use its power to impose its will unilaterally," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Fonterra is a commercial organisation, with contractual obligations to its shareholders - dairy farmers. It would be totally unacceptable for it to refuse to collect and process shareholders' milk - even if those shareholders criticise Fonterra's performance.

"The rural sector is already well aware of the need to protect both the environment and livestock. The vast majority of dairy farmers have already gone to great lengths to ensure best practice - it is not Fonterra's role to bully them into doing more than they already have.

"Fonterra has a virtual monopoly - granted by statute - on our milk processing. What option, then, does a dairy farmer have if their milk is rejected? Fonterra's Fonterra is not just biting the hand that feeds it, it is a servant usurping the position of master," Mr Eckhoff said.


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