22 Jun 2012

Visiting expert says TAF is flawed

8:48 pm on 22 June 2012

A visiting expert on co-operatives believes Fonterra farmers could end up being set against one another if the Trading Among Farmers proposals are voted in.

Otto van Bekkum says the changes are not needed and the dairy co-operative risks tearing itself apart if it goes through with them.

Trading Among Farmers will allow farmers to sell shares among one another as well as the rights for future dividends to outside investors.

Fonterra says the existing system of paying out farmers itself means it needs to keep a billion dollars in reserve.

But Mr van Bekkum, who is a consultant to international dairy companies, says that is a small amount relative to Fonterra's size.

"TAF changes the very heart of the co-op, it leads to a major mind shift rather than looking from a producer perspective, people will be looking from an investor perspective."