4 Jul 2011

Leadership style change signalled for Federated Farmers

8:00 am on 4 July 2011

A change of leadership style has been signalled for Federated Farmers as the result of delegates at last week's national conference voting in a largely new team.

Only two of the seven-member national board have previously served on the board: the new president, Hawke's Bay sheep and beef farmer Bruce Wills and Southland farmer David Rose.

Don Nicolson, who's stepped down after three years as president, says there's a relative lack of experience, especially with the loss of two of the longer serving representatives, former vice-president Donald Aubrey and dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie, both of whom have had to step aside after failing in their bids for the presidency.

However, Mr Nicolson says the federation remains in good hands with its new-look board.

He says the new candidates have high-calibre credentials, while the federation itself has a manifesto and long-standing principles.

The new vice-president, South Canterbury farmer William Rolleston says new faces may bring a different style, but the substance won't change.

He says the change doesn't represent a vote of no confidence in the previous board, but it does represent a desire for a change in style.

Federated Farmers' new president, Bruce Wills, says it is a less experienced board in the past, so there will be issues that need to be addressed, but on the plus side it will mean fresh thinking and enthusiasm.

The incoming board also breaks new ground with its first woman member, meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell.

The board also has more of an international character; the new dairy chair Willy Leferink came to New Zealand from Holland and another board member, Wairarapa sheep and beef farmer Anders Crofoot, is from New York.