8 Jun 2012

Some farmers still against share trading plan

6:26 am on 8 June 2012

Critics of Fonterra's Trading Among Farmers plan say proposed changes to the legislation that paves its way, won't protect the industry from a corporate takeover.

The Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill is moving through Parliament and allows for greater scrutiny of Fonterra's milk price setting, as well as the enactment of TAF, which includes a shareholders fund that outside investors can tap in to.

The Primary Production Select Committee says changes to the bill are needed.

Those include preventing Fonterra from purposely manipulating the trading among farmers share and fund markets, and making sure non-farmers cannot sit on a panel which decides what Fonterra pays farmers for their milk.

Fairlie farmer Leonie Guiney says those changes don't alleviate the concern that outside investment would lead to a loss of farmer control of the co-op.

She says Labour, the Green Party and New Zealand First do not appear to support the bill on the basis that they have not had time to give it sufficient scrutiny.

Ms Guiney says they haven't had the opportunity to analyse the potential for gaming and market influence on the operations of the farmer co-operative.

The select committee's timeframe was shortened by two months to meet Fonterra's wishes to have TAF in place by November.

The bill now goes to its second reading in Parliament.