18 Nov 2014

Reform group to endorse one candidate

7:16 am on 18 November 2014

A farmers group pushing for reform of the meat industry says it will endorse just one candidate in elections for Silver Fern Farms directors partially as a move to show support for chairman Rob Hewitt.

Mr Hewitt is one of two sitting board members whose terms are up and must stand again in an election scheduled for January. The other is South Canterbury farmer Herstall Ulrich.

John McCarthy.

John McCarthy Photo: SUPPLIED

Meat Industry Excellence chairman John McCarthy said it would support West Otago farmer Fiona Hancox, a founding member of the group who has announced her candidacy.

"A fresh face and a fresh voice, and a fresh impetus for reform, but we made a decision at executive level not to stand or endorse another candidate against the sitting chairman because we believe this industry is becoming increasingly bereft of genuine leadership," Mr McCarthy said.

"We believe that Rob is filling that space very well and under his guidance Silver Fern Farms is making progress - in our view not enough progress - but we're giving credit where credit is due.

"MIE is determined in our reformation effort to be constructive and not destructive, just for the sake of it, so that's the reasoning behind that."

Meat Industry Excellence would host meetings over the next two weeks for board candidates it is endorsing for Silver Fern Farms and the other meat co-operative, the Alliance Group.

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