Home' Greymouth Star : October 14th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 7
Call to cut
Fonterra has named six candidates for its
board at next month’s election and pressure has
emerged to reduce the number of directors.
Chairman John Wilson, directors Blue Read
and Nicola Shadbolt are retiring by rotation and
are eligible for re-election.
The new candidates are Murray Beach, from
Marlborough, Greg Maughan (Marton), and
Ashley Waugh (Te Awamutu).
Mr Beach last year put for ward an
unsuccessful motion at the annual meeting in
Palmerston North, which called for Fonterra to
halt its expansion strategy until the milk payout
Fonterra and Mr Wilson came under fire
from farmer shareholders early this year after
a disappointing first half result and a very low
Since then, the company ’s earnings have
bounced back — although they are still well short
of where they have been, historically. Fonterra’s
payout forecast has also improved to $5-$5.10 a
kilo from a previous forecast of $4.25 to $4.35.
Federated Farmers’ Waikato president Chris
Lewis said that if Mr Wilson were to lose his
seat, it was not clear who would succeed him
“That will be the question on everyone’s
minds,” Mr Lewis said. “ It ’s all very well
punishing him for some bad results, but who
would replace him?
It was reported that Fonterra shareholders and
former directors Colin Armer and Greg Gent
are calling for Fonterra to trim its board in a
resolution they want voted on at the November
25 annual meeting.
The pair have put for ward a notice of
proposal to cut Fonterra’s number of directors
to nine from the current 13 in a bid to lift the
co-operative’s performance and improve its
governance, they said in a statement.
The proposal would need 50% of the
Shareholders’ Council to support it, and 75%
backing from Fonterra’s shareholders, and
would reduce elected directors to six from nine,
and appointed directors to three from four. They
say a smaller board would increase efficiency
“Lack of confidence in the company is now
causing serious milk erosion to competitors and
the commerce performance of the co-op is at an
unacceptable level on both the dividend and the
share price,” Mr Gent said. “Continuing along
the same path and hoping for a different result
is unrealistic. So in our view a fundamental
change is needed at the board level. ”
Earlier this year, Fonterra director and former
chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of
Australia Ralph Norris said he would retire at
this year’s annual meeting.
“In recent times we’ve seen a couple of high
calibre appointed directors depart early, and we
need to ask why,” Mr Gent said.
Mr Armer said Fonterra’s promise to review
governance and representation three years
ago has not amounted to anything, and the
13-strong board installed when the co-operative
was formed was a “pragmatic number which
facilitated the merger”.
The proposal to trim the Fonterra board will
not target anyone seeking election, and would
require the Shareholders’ Council to hold an
election for the six elected directors in March
Neither Mr Armer nor Mr Gent will seek
election to the board. Mr Armer was a director
from 2006 to 2012, and Mr Gent was on
Fonterra’s board from 2001 to 2011.
“Our proposal is based on our knowledge and
experience of boardroom dynamics,” Mr Armer
said. “O ur process has been designed to make
sure that shareholders retain the absolute power
to elect the candidates they regard as the best
candidates for the job.”
The election, which will be by post, fax or
internet, will take place from October 31
through to November 23. A result will be
known by the time of Fonterra’s annual meeting
on November 25. — NZME
Eight people face more than 70 charges
after a drugs bust in Waimate yesterday.
“There was a significant police presence
in Waimate today and for a small
community it can be quite frightening.”
Those were the words of sergeant
Michael van der Heyden, of Waimate,
after the raid.
He said 40 officers from Timaru,
Oamaru, Christchurch and Waimate
executed 18 search warrants around the
Six men and two women were arrested
and face an array of charges related to
methamphetamine, synthetic cannabis,
Ritalin, cannabis plants and a taser.
Shortly after 8.30am yesterday, the 40
officers, including a drug detector dog
from Christchurch, split into five teams
and began simultaneously executing
search warrants in Waimate, which has
a population of about 2800.
Over the course of the day, searches
were conducted throughout the town
and surrounding area, including one
search in Timaru, one in St Andrews
and one in Makikihi.
The police operation,
Operation Catalyst, started five months
Mr van der Heyden said yesterday ’s
arrests “significantly reduced ” the supply
of drugs in the area.
“At the forefront for us is trying to keep
our community safe and by reducing the
availability of methamphetamine, it ’s
certainly a happy day for us,” he said.
Three men, aged 19, 22 and 27, were
in custody to appear in the Timaru
District Court today. Granted bail to
appear in the Timaru District Court on
November 10 were two women, aged 38
and 49, and three men, aged 22, 23 and
41. — Otago Daily Times
Dakang New Zealand Farm
Group, which is 55% owned by
Shanghai Pengxin, has quit efforts
to buy 10 farms in Northland,
citing five months of silence from
the O verseas Investment Office
since it applied for clearance
and its experience trying to buy
Lochinver Station, which was
scuttled by the government.
Dakang entered into a sale and
purchase agreement to buy seven
dairy and three support farms in
Northland from Pinny Farms,
the region’s largest milk supplier.
Dakang applied to the OIO in
April for clearance to buy the
3300ha of land milking 3900
Dakang chief executive Gary
Romano said he had expected
five months would be “sufficient
time to enable a rigorous and
objective review of our plans
for the farms, compared to the
70 working day guideline the
OIO has for turning around
“However, to date we have not
received any advice that the OIO
has considered the sale and/or
made a recommendation to the
ministers,” Mr Romano said. He
declined to comment when asked
whether Dakang had received
any unofficial signals that the
sale would not be cleared.
The decision to quit the sale
comes about a month after
associate Finance Minister Paula
Bennett and Land Information
rejected OIO’s recommendation
to approve the $88 million
Lochinver sale to Shanghai
Pengxin, saying the deal failed on
the test of providing a substantial
benefit to New Zealand. That
decision, too, was subject to
long delay and drew criticism
from owner Stevenson Group,
which said the government was
trampling on its right to get
the best possible price for the
13,843ha farm near Lake Taupo.
The Shanghai-based group
already owns the 8000ha Crafar
farms and a controlling stake in
SFL Holdings, which bought
4000ha of Canterbury farms
from Synlait Farms.
“O ur decision to end the
agreement (with Pinny) is
somewhat based on our experience
with Lochinver where the sale
and purchase agreement had to be
extended 11 times, each extension
causing frustration and pain to
the vendors, and uncertainty
for everyone involved,”
Romano said. “ We simply are not
confident enough of a favourable
outcome to warrant putting the
Northland vendors through a
Pinny Farms is run by Mer v
and Cara Pinny from their
headquarters in Kerikeri.
Chinese abandon Northland farms purchase
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Tom MacTavish, at home in Moeraki, prepares to embark on the Inspiring Explorers
Expedition to South Georgia Island.
A Moeraki man has been chosen from
almost 200 applicants to join an international
centennial expedition that honours the legacy
of three early Antarctic explorers.
Tom MacTavish, 28, was selected as one
of just three people from around the world
to join the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage
Trust ’s Inspiring Explorers Expedition to
South Georgia Island to recreate the crossing
undertaken a century ago by Sir Ernest
Shackleton, Tom Crean and New Zealander
Mr MacTavish, lieutenant Sinead Hunt,
of Ireland, and James Blake, son of New
Zealand-born yachting legend Sir Peter
Blake, are each, in their own ways, connected
to the story, identities or nationalities
of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean who
undertook the original crossing a century ago.
Like Worsley, Mr MacTavish is from a
small, country fishing village in the South
Island and has an affinity for the ocean.
Mr Blake is an accomplished adventurer and
explorer already — as Shackleton was when
he set out on the Endurance expedition and
lieutenant Hunt, like Crean before her, is
proudly Irish and ser ves in the military.
Initial disbelief at being chosen soon turned
to excitement for Mr MacTavish, offered an
opportunity of a lifetime to participate in the
fully sponsored ski-touring trip attempting to
repeat the crossing of the sub-Antarctic island
of South Georgia from King Haakon Bay to
The team has assembled in New Zealand,
and will depart on Friday.
They will disembark ship at King Haakon
Bay and cross South Georgia on skis,
retracing the original route in a multi-day
traverse of the island before rejoining the ship
The original expedition undertaken by
Shackleton, Crean and Worsley was the
final 36-hour act of desperation and bravado
to raise the alarm to rescue the crew of
Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, who were
marooned on Elephant Island.
“I think I’m probably most interested in
. . . getting some idea of what it was like for
Shackleton and Worsley and Crean to do that
crossing, with 28 lives depending on their
success or failure, 100 years ago,” he said.
— Otago Daily Times
In Shackleton’s footsteps
theft to pay
An experienced office worker with a
previously unblemished record, yesterday
admitted stealing thousands in cash after
falling behind with her household bills.
Deborah May Hannah, a 53-year-
old personal assistant, had worked at
a Christchurch weight loss surgery for
more than eight years.
She was in charge of the company ’s
finances and responsible for processing
cash payments from clients.
But between September 2011 and
October 2013 she received 25 cash
payments from patients that were not
paid into the company’s bank account,
the Christchurch District Court heard.
The cash payments were in sums
varying from $70 to $1070, according to
the police summary of facts.
Hannah, of Christchurch, either altered
or deleted the cash receipt so it was not
entered into the accounting system.
She then kept the cash, which totalled
When her offending was uncovered,
she admitted the thefts.
She told police she “ had a lot of bills
to pay ”.
Hannah, who has no previous
convictions, left the company in
Yesterday she pleaded guilty to a
representative charge of theft by person
in special relationship.
Judge Tony Couch said it was a serious
breach of trust.
Police are seeking a reparation order
for the stolen cash, plus another $5261
to cover the company ’s cost of an
accountant to identify the offending.
Judge Couch referred the matter for a
restorative justice conference between
Hannah and her former employers ahead
of sentencing on December 9.
Her bail conditions were altered to
allow her to travel to Australia for a
family wedding. — N Z ME
Police have released the name of the
cyclist who died in a downhill crash in
Christchurch last Thursday.
He was Richard Brent Caldwell, 59.
The death has been referred to
the coroner and investigations were
continuing, police said.
The incident occurred as Mr Caldwell
was cycling down Evans Pass Road about
9.45am on October 8. It was not known if
another vehicle was involved. — NZ M E
Dead cyclist named
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