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Time Running Out For Fonterra Director Candidates

The 11 candidates running for election to the Fonterra Board of Directors will know in a matter of days who will step up to the three places on the board of the country's largest company.

Voting in the elections closes at noon on Friday (May 23) and results will be notified soon after.

Joint Returning Officers Carolyn Mason and Mike Linnegar say they are expecting a busy week and anticipate a large number of late votes to be cast.

"More than half of the votes that were cast in last year's elections were returned in the final week of the election, so we are expecting a similar situation this year with a flurry of last minute activity."

Last year, just over 50% of shareholders voted in the election and the returning officers are hoping for a greater turnout this year.

Ms Mason and Mr Linnegar also say shareholders appear to be becoming more familiar with the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system being used in the elections, which requires shareholders to rank candidates in order of preference.

"There have been fewer questions on the voting system this year, which indicates shareholders are more comfortable with the STV voting process.

"This has probably been assisted by the publicity the STV system has had from city, district and regional councils considering moving to the STV system of voting for their own elections and other elections currently taking place using STV, such as for directors to the boards of Dexcel and Dairy InSight."

Each year three of Fonterra's farmer-elected directors must retire by rotation, although they can seek re-election. The three incumbent directors - Harry Bayliss, Richard Booth and Marise James - are all seeking re-election.

The eight other candidates standing for the board are:

* Colin Holmes, Murupara

* Stuart Nattrass, Christchurch

* John Wilson, Te Awamutu

* Hilary Webber, Cambridge

* Graeme Edwards, Leigh

* Kingi Smiler, Wellington

* Malcolm Bailey, Feilding

* Maurice Hardie, Papamoa

Fonterra sent all shareholders a booklet profiling each of the candidates, a video interview of each candidate, a booklet on the STV voting system and information on the key skills and capabilities directors should possess to assist them in voting.

A 'meet the candidates' road show took the candidates to 11 meetings from Whangarei to Invercargill, where shareholders were able to questions the candidates one-on-one.

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