Keep­ing farms lo­cal helps NZ stay ahead

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

New Zealand’s need for over­seas cap­i­tal does not mean giv­ing away con­trol or own­er­ship of farms, said Fon­terra chair­man Sir Henry van der Hey­den.

He told the farmer-owned co-op­er­a­tive’s an­nual meet­ing in Haw­era, Taranaki, that he wanted as many farms as pos­si­ble to stay in lo­cal own­er­ship, sup­ply­ing milk to Fon­terra.

‘‘Global de­mand for food means ev­ery­one’s eye­ing up New Zealand as a pro­duc­tion base. Keep­ing our farms and other pro­duc­tive re­sources in lo­cal hands is about pro­tect­ing our com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in the world – we need to keep as much of the ben­e­fit as we can here in New Zealand,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been good to see the Govern­ment’s re­sponse in this area. There will be a lot of peo­ple watch­ing to see how it plays out in re­al­ity.

‘‘Our abil­ity to grow grass, turn it into milk then into the high­est qual­ity dairy prod­ucts more ef­fi­ciently than any­one else, is our point of dif­fer­ence. This is where we lead the world. We sim­ply can­not af­ford to lose fo­cus, lose our edge or the con­trol of our pro­duc­tive re­sources – our land.’’

Sir Henry urged farm­ers to ‘‘stick to­gether’’.

‘‘Our co-op is one of the few New Zealand busi­nesses that has the scale and strength to tap global trends and bring the ben­e­fits back home. That strength comes from stick­ing to­gether.’’

Sus­tain­abil­ity had to be a big pri­or­ity for the com­pany, he said.

‘‘The world is chang­ing. Con­sumers have a strong in­ter­est in how their food is pro­duced, the im­pacts on their en­vi­ron­ment and how it con­trib­utes to our econ­omy.

‘‘As chair­man of Fon­terra, I will al­ways rep­re­sent the views of farm­ers but we can’t run roughshod over ev­ery­one else’s views. Our farm­ers, Fon­terra, our in­dus­try, cus­tomers, con­sumers, all need to have a voice.

‘‘The chal­lenge – not just for dairy farm­ers but for the coun­try – is to weigh up what’s right and how we strike the right bal­ance for New Zealand.’’

Sir Henry called for New Zealan­ders to get in be­hind Fon­terra.

‘‘We need the sup­port of the pub­lic for dairy­ing to be al­lowed to grow so we con­tinue to do well.’’ Stuff.co.nz

Photo: TARANAKI DAILY NEWS

FARM OWN­ER­SHIP: Fon­terra chair­man Sir Henry van der Hey­den talks for­eign in­vest­ment at the co-op­er­a­tive’s an­nual meet­ing in Haw­era.

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