4 Mar 2014

Monaghan's Alliance bid comes to end

8:13 am on 4 March 2014

Sheep and beef farmers seeking industry reform have failed in their bid to get a Fonterra director on to the board of the Alliance meat co-operative.

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Photo: AFP

Alliance has confirmed it has finalised a shortlist of candidates for the independent director seat on its board - and John Monaghan is not on it.

Farmers aligned with the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group put forward a resolution last year to get Mr Monaghan appointed as an independent director on the board, believing his experience with Fonterra would be highly valuable to Alliance.

Alliance had previously rejected Mr Monaghan's nomination to become a supplier representative on the board, saying his financial stake in the co-op was too small.

But there was confusion surrounding Mr Monaghan's bid after Alliance chairman Murray Taggart suggested Mr Monaghan had withdrawn from the selection process, while Mr Monaghan said he hadn't and remained very much committed to it.

MIE chairman John McCarthy said the group gave up fighting to get Mr Monaghan on to the board about a month ago.

"I guess if we were going to do a rerun we would have probably been a bit softer in our approach and I would hope that the chairman, Murray Taggart, would have been a bit softer his reaction," Mr McCarthy said.

"I think that he painted himself into a corner that he would have lost far too much face as chairman, given his initial reaction to the Monaghan process."

MIE wanted to drive up farmer participation and farmer awareness around the issues, both for Alliance and for the wider meat industry, he said.

"I think we succeeded in all those things, so three weeks ago we decided that there was no point in going to war with the board of the Alliance because we want to work with everyone to actually achieve a result for this industry."

The organisation had done what it would to highlight what it believed was the need for change in the red meat sector and it was now up to farmers, Mr McCarthy said.

MIE did get one farmer it backed on to the board of Alliance in Southland's Don Morrison.

Alliance will announce the successful candidate for the independent director role shortly.