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Fonterra Consultation Farcical

Most Fonterra suppliers are still in dark about Fonterra's environmental initiatives, says Kevin Wooding, Chairman of Dairy Farmers of New Zealand (DNFZ).

"Recent supplier meetings have given scant information on the detail of the Environmental Assessment Proposal or the draft Dairying Accord, and what it means for dairy farmers, said Mr. Wooding.

A letter documenting the specific changes to the Environmental Assessment Proposal has been posted to Fonterra Shareholders this week. However the letter does not contain a copy of the full proposal, which will bind suppliers to increased compliance costs, or timelines. The proposal is being widely touted to be included as a condition of supply within year two of implementation.

A small number of submissions from both shareholders and DFNZ have resulted in some modification of the environmental proposal. Effluent discharge information will be obtained from the regional council, and animal welfare issues will be left in the domain of MAF.

"However it is disappointing to see that other criteria that Fonterra will still be pursuing are a duplication of activities, including enforcement and education, already carried out by regional councils and Dexcel," said Mr. Wooding.

"DFNZ supports positive and cost effective environmental initiatives based on robust science, which minimise adverse effects on farm.

"Many Councils are involved in effective environmental initiatives with dairy farmers to bring about changes in farm management, beyond those already required in consents and plans under the Resource Management Act.

"An example of successful farm management is the co-operative approach between Environment Southland, Federated Farmers, and Fish and Game to develop guidelines for managing stock grazing near waterways.

"Fonterra must ensure farmers are fully informed about the ongoing implications of the proposal before proceeding with any initiative that will become a condition of supply".

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