Alliance boss stands by comment

Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart is standing by his comment that Fonterra director John Monaghan has withdrawn from the director appointment process - despite Mr Monaghan maintaining he has not.

On Thursday, Mr Taggart told the Otago Daily Times that Mr Monaghan had decided to pull out of the process.

When contacted on Friday, Mr Monaghan, who lives in Eketahuna, said he had not withdrawn from any process.

''I remain committed to helping the red meat sector and am available to the Alliance board. If Alliance shareholders want me there, I am available,'' he said.

Mr Monaghan said he had given that commitment to both Mark Patterson and Mandy Bell, who put forward the resolution to the company's annual meeting in December, asking the board to appoint him as an independent director ''and nothing has changed''.

The groundswell for change among sheep and beef farmers continued to grow, as signalled by the co-operative's director election results, and, on a positive note, it was good to see greater farmer engagement, he said.

But Mr Taggart said Mr Monaghan was invited by Alliance Group to meet the consultant being used for the independent director appointment process.

He agreed to meet that consultant and, at the ''last minute'', pulled out. Mr Taggart had spoken to Mr Monaghan on Thursday night, as a courtesy call, and he did not deny he had withdrawn from the process, he said.

''It's a very unusual situation we find ourselves in. At the end of the day, it still comes back to we've got to get the best person for the job.

There were a lot of other people being looked at and, if Mr Monaghan had ''stacked up'' against them, obviously he would have been given serious consideration.

''If he won't go through the process ... so be it,'' he said.


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