By Jeremy Rees
Fonterra has welcomed the review of the law which governs it and urged farmers and shareholders to work with the government to get it right.
At its annual meeting, Fonterra chairman John Monaghan told the 360 farmers in the audience that the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), which regulated the company was a complex piece of legislation but it was important to get any changes right.
"Let's be clear. Fonterra's performance, good or bad, is not driven by DIRA," he said.
"But an updated DIRA can deliver our shared vision for the future of the New Zealand dairy industry."
The government began in May a review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 which sets the parameters for Fonterra, the co-operative dairy giant.
"We all want the same thing - legislation that supports a prosperous and sustainable dairy industry for every New Zealander," Mr Monaghan said.
"That means an industry still able to invest in our regions, keeping profits in New Zealand. Where farmers are paid good money for their milk and control their own destinies."
But he also said the dairy industry needed to partner with others to "rebuild our country's reputation for being the food and agritech innovation centre of the world".
Mr Monaghan also singled out the need for an industry where foreign exporters are "not given a leg up at the expense of kiwi farmers.'"
The review will look at how the price of raw milk is set for farmers, how competitive the milk market is - as well as incentives for farmers to move into more sustainable production methods.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor released a discussion document and launched the public consultation phase of the review for the $17 billion dairy industry last week.