Bending Dairy Co Management ValuesFriday, Oct 12, 2001
Those naughty lads from Kiwi may have been caught out indulging in a bit of hanky panky before the marriage
was consummated between NZ Dairy, NZDB and Kiwi.
Should we be surprised that something this irregular could have happened? Probably not!
Kiwi has long since had an aggressive culture of taking things to the edge – a hybrid sort of cooperative
brinksmanship that it honed and practised as it went through its stream of mergers to consolidate
its self in the major company that will merge with others into Fonterra later this month.
But in this instance the allegations of irregularity cannot be dismissed with an indulgent smile by
some anxious board chairman.
It’s not the fact of breaking the rules or the financial cost that is the worry. It is the culture that
allowed it to happen or even encouraged it to happen and it is that culture that should cause
shareholders of Fonterra considerable concern if it has been transported into the new company from
which so much is expected..
NZ business has had a series of spectacular international business cock-ups in the course of the past
few years. However, these cock-ups may be indicating that NZer’s believe that we are better at international
business than we really are.
That the local “milk mafia’s” management of the final perilous ride to a consolidated industry this
past ten years has not been to everyone’s satisfaction is well known. But the consolidation will have
been for nothing if the new structure is low on business ethics, honesty and honour and these
rough local standards are applied in our international operations. Factors that up until now the NZDB
has remained aloof from
Perhaps dairy co shareholders should have been like the musterer who found his pack of old dogs had
developed too many bad habits which were being passed on to the young pups – it was only finally resolved
by shooting the whole pack and starting afresh.