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Bill seeks protection for Kiwi farmers

Damien O’Connor
Spokesperson for Primary Industries

16 August 2012

Bill seeks protection for Kiwi farmers

Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson, Damien O’Connor, has lodged a private members Bill aimed at protecting Kiwi farmers by limiting outside and foreign investment in Fonterra.

“Fonterra, a farmer owned cooperative and New Zealand’s largest agricultural company, was set up through legislation to give it the strength and advantages needed to take on the world.

“Recent legislative changes have opened the way for the purchase of investor units with rights to dividends and share value appreciation. Unfortunately attempts by Labour to safeguard the company by capping the size of the investor fund were blocked by the Government, despite having the support of many farmer shareholders.

“My bill looks to rectify that by limiting the total amount of tradable shares to 20 per cent, the level the Fonterra Board claims is critical to the on-going farmer control and ownership of the co-operative.

“It means farmers will be safeguarded from growing outside pressure to sell down the co-operative through tough times.

“National refused to intervene and protect the Crafar farms from being sold to overseas interests. Without better protection for Fonterra farmers, their unique Kiwi co-operative could also end up in foreign hands,” said Damien O’Connor.

ENDS

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