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2012 "International Year of the Cooperative"

United Nations declares 2012 as "International Year of the Cooperative"

It's Christmas season and New Zealand cooperatives have an additional reason for celebration: on 18 December, the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York proclaimed 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. The proclamation was included in a resolution entitled "Cooperatives in Social Development" (which can be downloaded from

"The UN has designated International Years since 1959 to draw attention to major issues and to encourage international action to address concerns which have global significance.," said Cooperatives Association chairperson Peter Macdougall.

"International Year of the Cooperative is an opportunity for New Zealanders to learn more about the diverse group of cooperative and mutual businesses that contribute so much to our communities in all the corners of this country."

"The Cooperatives Association will be working with cooperative leaders here and overseas on a programme of International Year activities during 2012 aimed at highlighting the economic and social contributions of cooperatives."

"It's true to say that most New Zealanders are unaware of the impact of cooperatives on this country as a whole, on both rural and urban communities right across New Zealand."

"The International Year of the Cooperative will give us plenty of opportunities to generate awareness of that contribution, and to encourage people to organise themselves into cooperatives to address their own economic and social needs," he concluded.

Cooperatives in New Zealand ... and the world

* With an aggregate turnover/revenue of more than $30bn, New Zealand's cooperatives and mutuals are responsible for around 20% of the country's GDP

* Some of New Zealand's best known businesses are cooperatives and mutuals, including Fonterra Cooperative Group, Foodstuffs (Pak'n'Save, New World, Four Square), Alliance Group, Silver Fern Farms, Mitre 10, Paper Plus, Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Southern Cross, the Automobile Association and Interflora

* The world's 300 largest cooperatives and mutuals, six of which are here in New Zealand, have an aggregate turnover/revenue of US$1.1 trillion, the size of the world's 10th largest economy

* According to the International Labour Organisation, cooperatives provide more than 100 million jobs, more than all the world's multinational corporations combined.

For further information please contact

Peter Macdougall
Chairperson, New Zealand Cooperatives Association, phone 027 433 9837
Chairperson of the New Zealand Cooperatives Association, Peter Macdougall was until recently a director of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd. In partnership with his family, he farms 4,000 hectares in Central Otago on which he carries 24,000 stock units. In 1998 he was awarded the Peren Cup as winner of the New Zealand Perendale Sheep farmer of the Year.

About the New Zealand Cooperatives Association

The New Zealand Cooperatives Association aims to:
* encourage, promote and advance cooperative enterprise
* act as representative association for those engaged as cooperatives
* promote discussion and cooperation with decision makers at all levels of government to further the interest of the cooperative movement
* provide services and expertise to those engaged in the cooperative movement and carry out research into all aspects of the movement
* collect, verify and publish information relating to the cooperative movement


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