Tuesday, 26 March 2024 07:55

BLNZ fee increase rejected

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland says that B+LNZ director fees are well below industry benchmarks. Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland says that B+LNZ director fees are well below industry benchmarks.

Frustrated red meat farmers soundly rejected a move by the Beef + Lamb New Zealand board to increase its director fees.

At B+LNZ's annual meeting in Nelson last week, 66% of voting farmers rejected a proposal to increase the director fees pool by $73,500 to $475,000/annum.

Under the proposal, chair Kate Acland's fee would have gone to $90,000 from $76,220. Each director would have received $45,000 from this year (currently $38,110).

The pool available for additional director duties was to increase to $25,000 from $20,000.

Federated Farmers meat and wool chair Toby Williams, a sheep farmer from Gisborne, isn't surprised with the voting results.

Williams told Rural News that farmers are frustrated and not making any money now.

"I'm not surprised because the conservations I'm having with farmers and the sentiment is that we are not maing any money," he says.

"Farmers are finding it tough, and they believe everyone else should be tightening their belts too".

Williams also questioned the timing of B+LNZ's proposal and noted that only 12% of farmers had cast their votes.

For the vote on lifting director fees, 1540 farmers cast their votes: 976 against the proposal, 510 voted for it and 54 abstained. A second resolution put forward by the B+LNZ board on the appointment of the auditor gained 96% support from farmers. Acland says since farmer support was required for the director fee increase to proceed, the fees will not be increased this year.

"We respect this result. We recognise it's extremely tough on farm now and believe this has been reflected in the voting outcome," Acland said.

"However, the fact remains that B+LNZ's director fees are well below industry benchmarks... so we'll pick this up again when the time is right."

The meeting also passed three farmer-sponsored resolutions.

A motion by Waikato farmer Jason Barrier calling for "a unified emissions position, for the sheep and beef sector, before entering into further emissions discussions and negotiations with the government" was passed with 60% support.

Barrier says sheep and beef farmers cannot afford a repeat of the deeply compromised position they faced with He Waka Eke Noa.

Farmer Neil Henderson's remit calling for B+LNZ to acknowledge NZ ruminants are not causing significant global warming got 65% farmer support.

Helen Mandero's remit for B+LNZ to resist genetically engineered practices was narrowly passed with 50.65% supporting it.

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