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Complete farmer control of Fonterra is non-negotiable, the co-op's shareholder council says.
Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper has responded to concern that trading of Fonterra shares among farmers would lead to a loss of ownership and control of the organisation.
“Farmer ownership and control of our co-operative is essential to our core beliefs,” Mr Couper said.
When the council reviews the structure and implications of trading among farmers (TAF), retaining 100% ownership and control is non-negotiable, he said.
“If there is any real risk that 100% ownership and control is not retained by our co-op, council will not vote to support moving to TAF.”
Mr Couper also sought to address the issues around the role of the custodian, which has been the subject of much discussion.
“Ultimately, the Fonterra board has the obligation and responsibility to prove to the council and shareholders that the controls and protections for 100% farmer ownership and control will be embedded in the proposed structure; this includes the role of the custodian and the fund.”
The council had a comprehensive review process in place to evaluate the proposal, once the board released its final details, Mr Couper said.
“We have retained a lawyer with extensive senior corporate law and government advisory experience who is constantly reviewing and questioning the provisions contained within the structure.
“From the council’s point of view it is 100% farmer ownership and control of the co-operative or nothing - if our review process shows that this most key aspect of TAF is not guaranteed then TAF will not go ahead.”