DINZ chairwoman to end tenure after re-election bid fails

Deer Industry New Zealand chairwoman Dr Mandy Bell will end her tenure at the end of this month after failing to be re-elected to the board.

The board is comprised of eight members; four appointed by producers through the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association selection and appointment panel, and four appointed by processor/exporters.

Dr Bell, a Wanaka deer farmer and veterinarian, had retired by rotation and stood for re-election for the one producer-appointed position, alongside John Tacon who retired in 2021 after working for DINZ and its predecessor organisations for more than 30 years.

The pair were interviewed by the NZDFA’s selection and appointment process to decide on the best candidate and Dr Bell had not been reappointed, a statement from DINZ said.

DINZ deputy chairman Gerard Hickey said Dr Bell would remain chairwoman until the end of June, following which a new chairperson would be announced.

"No-one has worked harder than Dr Mandy Bell to advance the interests of the sector and support the transition of DINZ to better support the deer industry in New Zealand", Mr Hickey said.

He thanked her for her dedication and hard work, particularly in recent months as the organisation had been working through organisational changes and new industry strategies.

Dr Bell, who co-owns Criffel Station with her husband Jerry, has been a deer farmer for more than 30 years. She has been a DINZ director since 2021 and was elected chairwoman the following year.

In the statement, she said while she was disappointed not to be reappointed, she was confident the the organisation was well placed to continue the "great progress" made in the last few years.

While her focus would now return to her commercial interests, her 30-year association with the deer industry would continue.

DINZ is also without a permanent chief executive following the resignation of Innes Moffat in January. A candidate who had agreed to lead the organisation was released from his contract in response to changed personal and family circumstances.

Senior leadership team member Rhys Griffiths was recently appointed interim chief executive as DINZ renewed its search for a new chief executive.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report said venison export prices were projected to rise 10%, pushing revenue up by 3%, while export volumes were expected to be down in the year to June 30, 2024.

With global consumption expected to rise, a higher venison export price and greater export volumes were forecast to result in a further increase in export revenue by 9% in 2024-25 with demand potentially exceeding supply.