OPINION: Fonterra farmers have delivered a stinging rebuke to the co-op leaders: don’t expect us to rubber stamp your director candidates, was the message in last week’s results.
“I work on the basis that as a board member of Fonterra you are the guardian of the future against the claims of the present.
“This approach requires careful balancing of often competing tensions to ensure equity among our farmer shareholders current and future. We have a legacy to uphold and build on.”
Tuuta says he is passionate about Fonterra delivering value to farmer shareholders.
“I believe Fonterra should be the exemplar for other New Zealand and global companies. Fonterra has the opportunity to lead the way in demonstrating appropriate environmental, social and cultural standards alongside outstanding financial performance.”
Tuuta is no stranger to dairy farming; he is a shareholder of PKW Incorporation, a large farming business in Taranaki.
He served as chairman of PKW for six years before being appointed the Māori trustee.
As the Māori trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa for the last seven years he has worked closely with farmers and land owners to develop resilient businesses.
“I have also maintained a close connection with the evolution of the co-op over the years given its importance to my area of work.”
Tuuta has at least 20 years governance experience in iwi development, agribusiness, fishing, investment, health, housing, tourism, philanthropy and education.
“My breadth of experience and leadership across multiple sectors and businesses, including a deep understanding of the Māori economy, would benefit the board and the cooperative.”
Tuuta believes Fonterra is critical to NZ’s success economically and environmentally and must remain globally competitive.
“We must take the necessary steps to make Fonterra the global leader. In doing this Fonterra has the role of maximising the value of our farmers’ milk and making quality decisions regarding capital allocation.” The board must be committed to that strategy -- must ‘own’ it -- and must have effective governance culture and hold management to account.
Tuuta also wants Fonterra’s board to be transparent in financial reporting and practice a high standard of compliance in regulatory environments.
“We are operating in a dynamic environment that requires the cooperative to understand our risks and devise means to reduce exposure and build our resilience.”