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Farmers Face Threat From Fonterra Listing

Media Release

13 November 2007

Farmers Face Threat From Fonterra Listing

New Zealand First has warned Fonterra that it will vigorously oppose any move to list any part of the dairy giant on the stock exchange as it will open the door to foreign control of one of our largest and most successful companies.

Economic development spokesman Doug Woolerton said that listing Fonterra would be the worst possible option for dairy farmers who are making huge returns on their efforts, and also for provincial centres, which are enjoying the flow on effects of the economic success.

“Just look at our economic record since 1984 – we build up our assets then flog them off to foreigners so they can get rich from our hard work and innovation,” said Mr Woolerton.

“Big multinationals are dying to get their hands on Fonterra. Once they own the dairy industry they will start buying farms to guarantee their supply and then, of course, start moving processing to China. It would mean short term financial gain, followed by a big dose of financial pain.

Mr Woolerton also reminded Fonterra that it operated under special legislation that allowed it to maintain a privileged position of monopoly in the New Zealand market, which was also very attractive to multinationals.

“New Zealand First would seek to have this legislation overturned if Fonterra lists on the Stock Exchange. A co-operative with a monopoly is barely tolerable but a multinational with a monopoly would be disastrous for New Zealand consumers.

He said farmers should be concerned that the Chairman of Fonterra was also a director of the Stock Exchange and there was obviously a clear potential for a conflict of interest.

“New Zealand First will be fighting this flawed idea all the way. It is not yet a fait accompli, and it can and must be stopped if we are going to keep New Zealand-earned wealth in New Zealand, where it belongs,” said Mr Woolerton.

ENDS

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