An attack on Fonterra farmers is an 'attack on rural NZ' - shareholders' chair

Rural Exchange 24/06/2018

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones set the cat among the pigeons at Fieldays last week when he made scathing comments about dairy co-op Fonterra, suggesting its chairman John Wilson should resign.

While some farmers may have agreed with Jones’ sentiment, many others were not impressed with a politician poking his nose into the co-operative's business.

Fonterra shareholders' council chairman Duncan Coull told Rural Exchange that the comments from the minister are disappointing.

An attack on Fonterra and its farmers is an attack on rural New Zealand.

Speaking to media, Shane Jones said he'd suggested to the Minister of Agriculture that a "disconnected" Fonterra was overdue for a restructure.

"I've been bloody disappointed that Fonterra, in my view - their leadership have not accepted there's been a new government and there's a new narrative, and I've had a gutsful of them believing they're bigger than what their writ really is."

"They should focus less on interfering in politics and more on justifying the money they've lost overseas," he said of the company.

"I believe that they have become disconnected from the farming community."

Watch the full interview with Duncan Coull above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.