August 08, 2013
Fonterra scandal a breach of country’s trust
Labour MP Shane Jones says Fonterra has broken the trust it was given to look after New Zealand’s good name.
The company’s release of botulism-tainted whey into its supply chain has led to recalls of products such as infant formula and to some countries blocking all imports of milk powder from New Zealand.
Mr Jones says the previous Labour Government allowed the creation of a near-monopoly dairy exporter because the farmers argued it was what their industry and the country needed.
He says the company’s response to the crisis has been amateurish, with the chairman, Te Awamutu farmer John Wilson, missing in action.
"The farmers always rail against our party, saying 'oh, you guys can't be trusted.' So we are entrusting the shareholders and governors of Fonterra with the reputation of all the food exporters in New Zealand, and we haven't heard a single word from the chairman. I hope when the Chinese get what they want that whoever the chairman is, the fact that we don't even know who he is shows they have seriously dropped the ball," Mr Jones says.
He says the blow to New Zealand’s reputation as a food producer could damage not just the dairy industry but the fishing industry where a lot of iwi wealth is concentrated.
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