Red meat group seeks mandate

Organisers of a red meat industry meeting in Christchurch tomorrow are seeking a written mandate from farmers, including a possible commitment to a new entity.

Spokesman Blair Gallagher said the organising committee was taking it a step further from last month's meeting in Gore where about 1000 farmers overwhelmingly supported a mandate for change in the sector.

They were seeking, in writing, details of who farmers were, whom they supplied, their number of stock units and a commitment to what could be a new entity.

If they could get that, pressure could be applied to get change in the industry, Mr Gallagher said.

The meeting will be held in the Wigram Air Force Museum at 2pm and while it was hard to gauge how many people would attend, he was expecting a ''big crowd''.

The committee was getting ''really positive'' feedback about the gathering and he believed farmers were in a mood for change. It is the only other meeting in the South Island.

The meeting will be chaired by Montalto farmer Mark Morrow and speakers include West Otago farmer and member of the Meat Industry Excellence Group's executive Fiona Hancox, who will outline the group's six key principles and outline options for industry reform.

Massey University agribusiness professor Hamish Gow will look at other business models and their relevance to the meat industry and New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge will describe his experience with redesigning the merino industry and relate that to the meat industry.

Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford will describe ''the big picture'' and give an industry perspective, while Meat Industry Excellence Group chairman Richard Young , from West Otago, will summarise ''where to from here?''

The Meat Industry Excellence Group's six principles are. -

• Up to 80% of red meat processed and marketed by one ''coalition of the willing'' structure.

• Identifying and extracting best personnel and strategies.

• Contracting stock to specification - the need to commit to a company.

• Legislation required to support new structure be sought.

• All participants to fund restructuring.

• Suppliers to be treated fairly, equally and with full transparency.

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