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Fonterra should make a commitment to Takaka now

23 June 2005

Fonterra should make a commitment to Takaka now

Fonterra has a responsibility to farmers' communities, so it should be immediately announcing that it will rebuild its Takaka dairy factory, says Green Rural Affairs Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street.

The dairy giant's Takaka plant was destroyed by fire two nights ago.

"Fonterra has a community responsibility which extends beyond the economic," says Mr Ewen-Street.

"It may be the cheapest option financially not to rebuild, but as a Cooperative, Fonterra has an interdependent relationship with its dairy farmers and local community. The dairy factory is Takaka's biggest employer, so even suggesting that they may expand their Richmond plant instead is creating uncertainty and stress for Golden Bay farmers and the whole community 'over the hill'.

"There is no railway access out of the Bay and the cost of trucking liquid milk over the difficult Takaka Hill will only increase in the future as the price of oil increases.

"The smart thing to do is to use energy now to rebuild while its still relatively cheap, rather than later to transport unprocessed product as it becomes more expensive. It's a case of adding value as close to the source of production as possible.

"And the right thing to do is to stand by Golden Bay," said Mr Ewen-Street.

ENDS

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