Maniototo farmer calls for Farmlands shareholders to vote in board elections
Maniototo farmer and company director, Dawn Sangster, is calling for shareholders in Farmlands to have their say in their business's coming board election.
Standing for the vacant South Island seat on the farmer-owned company, Sangster was a staunch supporter of its co-operative model, after serving as an elected director of Alliance Group for the past six years.
Also standing for the South Island seat are Murray Donald (Southland), Melanie Montgomery (Southland), David Rose (Southland) and Gary Kellaher (Alexandra).
Retiring by rotation are Tony O'Boyle and Nikki Davies-Colley (North Island) and Don McFarlane (South Island). Davies-Colley advised she was available for re-election, while O'Boyle and McFarlane have taken the opportunity to retire from the board, after seven and 20 years of service respectively.
Sangster said she wanted shareholders to take an interest and vote. Only 27 per cent of 64,000 shareholders voted in the last election. There is not a lot of knowledge or awareness of the election, she said.
"I'm not necessarily saying they should vote for me, but I would like them to take an interest."
Sangster said Farmlands had more work to do to realise the benefits of its merger with CRT in 2013.
"The recent rationalisation of some parts of the business and this year's return to profitability are steps in the right direction."
Areas for improvement included training and support for staff in sales and technical excellence and leading change in the digital retail age. Sangster also wanted to see Farmlands work harder to understand shareholders needs and earn their support and trust.
"As farmers, we need to engage with our agricultural co-operatives and strengthen them," she said
"Farmlands is not just about shops. When it began in the 1960s, it aimed to use collective strength and scale to source competitively-priced farm products. We owe it to those who have gone before us to hold true to their vision and expect more.
"With the uncertain outcome of the general election, it's good to know that as farmers, we have some control over one of New Zealand's leading rural retail companies which can add value to our businesses."