Fonterra farmers slow to vote

Last updated 11:13 11/12/2012

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Only 15 per cent of Fonterra farmer-shareholders have so far voted in this year's director and shareholder council elections, with just four days left to have their say.

Returning officer Warwick Lampp said as usual there is likely to be a last minute rush to vote by the company's 10,500 shareholders, though this year’s election response cannot be compared with previous events, because the voting period is a week shorter than usual.

This is because of the launch of Fonterra's capital restructure share Trading Among Farmers (TAF) late last month.

The company's annual meeting is on Monday at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, because of Taf also later than usual in the year.

A whopping 11 farmer-director hopefuls are contesting three vacancies on the board of Fonterra, New Zealand's biggest company, this year.

Two of the vacancies are created by the rotational elections of incumbents, Fonterra chairman-elect John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt, both of whom will seek re-election.

The third vacancy was created by the sudden resignation from the board of large-scale farmer and rich lister Colin Armer, after Wilson was announced as chairman-elect to succeed Sir Henry van der Heyden.

The 11 candidates are: Blue Read, Donna Smit, Eric Ray, Grant Cochrane, Grant Rowan, Jacqueline Rowarth, Jan Marten Kingma, Lachie Cameron, Michael Spaans and the two incumbents Wilson and Shadbolt.

The candidates were confirmed after the completion of Fonterra's optional CAP (candidate assessment panel) process, available each year to independently assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of candidates to assist shareholders in making an informed vote.

Elections are also being held for positions on the watchdog Fonterra Shareholders Council.

Lampp said shareholders should use internet voting at this late stage to ensure their votes are received before the deadline of 10.30am Saturday.

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