Taf Bill passage hailed

Fonterra has welcomed the passing of the third and final reading of the DIRA Bill, which provides the legislative changes needed to enable Trading Among Farmers (Taf).

The enactment of those changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act Amendment Bill was "another milestone" as the dairy co-operative moved towards Taf, chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said.

Last month, Fonterra gained a mandate to proceed with the controversial scheme.

The board was still working towards a November launch but that would be dependent on market conditions, Sir Henry said.

The DIRA changes also introduced a new regime of Commerce Commission oversight of Fonterra's setting of the farm-gate milk price, which would improve understanding of the "transparent and robust" method Fonterra used to set its price, he said.

There had been considerable debate among Fonterra's shareholder base around the merits of Taf, Primary Industries Minister David Carter said.

But after shareholders voted in favour of it and with the DIRA legislation being passed, it was time for Fonterra "to move forward, growing the opportunities that exist for the company both in New Zealand and overseas".

Under the legislation, farmers would retain the ability to freely enter into Fonterra or exit to competing dairy processors and be assured of receiving a fair value for their shares, he said.

Yesterday, the Fonterra Shareholders Council elected Ian Brown, from Waikato, as chairman. Mr Brown took over the position in May, after the resignation of Simon Couper, who cited his lack of comfort with some aspects of Taf.



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