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Prime Minister confirms desire to list Fonterra

Prime Minister confirms desire to list Fonterra

John Key has confirmed he would like to see Fonterra as a publicly listed company, Labour's Agriculture spokesperson Damien O'Connor says.

"In answer to a question in Parliament today, John Key admitted he had discussed the fact that it would be 'great' if Fonterra was a publicly listed company, several times with NZX CEO Mark Weldon.

"Farmers who have clearly expressed their determination to have Fonterra remain as a cooperative, will be alarmed at the Prime Minister's views," Damien O'Connor said.

"Labour's commerce spokesperson, Lianne Dalziel, also tabled a memo from Sir Henry van der Heyden following a 'good meeting' with John Key, that noted the delay to push ahead with Trading Among Farmers next year was the right decision in light of the up-coming election.

"I am concerned some sweet deal has been arranged to leave Fonterra exposed to outside pressure and eventual listing. At that point New Zealand farmers will lose control of their company and the only Kiwi owned multinational vertically integrated trading company.

"While Fonterra directors and executives maintain they have a mandate to proceed with TAF, farmers will undoubtedly want to further scrutinise the many details of the final proposal," Damien O'Connor said.

"If the National and ACT parties wish to push legislation through if re-elected, dairy farmers need to know the full implications of a likely outcome, especially now the Prime Minister has made his views about wanting to float Fonterra clear.

"This is an alarming revelation from the Prime Minister, who is well-known to be a friend and associate of NZX CEO Mark Weldon. The fact that Henry van der Heyden sat on the board of NZX until perceived conflicts of interest ended the role also adds weight to the fears a growing number of farmers have for their cooperative under the recapitalisation plans being promoted.

"Farmers now have to put pressure on their directors and the Government to expose their real agenda," Damien O'Connor said.

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