23 Oct 2013

Fonterra director blocked from Alliance candidacy

6:35 am on 23 October 2013

The farmer group campaigning for meat industry reform has a bone to pick with the board of the Alliance meat co-operative.

It is upset that the board has rejected the nomination of one of the four candidates put forward for two directors seats in upcoming elections.

The board accepted three of them - those of sitting directors, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart and Southland farmer Jason Miller, and one challenger, Donald Morrison.

However, it rejected the nomination of dairy and beef farmer John Monaghan because his shareholding in the co-operative is too small for him to be eligible.

Mr Monaghan is a director of Fonterra Dairy Co-operative Group and a former chairman of its Shareholders' Council.

He also has interests in a farming enterprise which is an Alliance shareholder.

Meat Industry Excellence group chairman John McCarthy finds it astonishing that someone with that background does not meet the criteria to stand for the board.

But Alliance company secretary Danny Hailes says the board's decision was based on the criteria for candidates laid out in the co-operative's constitution.

While the other three met the conditions, it found Mr Monaghan's financial interest in the co-operative did not reach the minimum required to be a candidate.

The constitution says nominees have to have direct or indirect beneficial ownership interest in shares of no less than $5000 to be eligible.

Mr Hailes says Murray Taggart and Jason Miller, as candidates themselves, stepped aside from that assessment process to avoid any conflict of interest.