Friday, 11 May 2012

SUPERMARKETS AND THE DAIRY INDUSTRY IN NZ


I worked in a supermarket for a year and a half until June 2011.  I often 'wondered' why the Universe had sent me this job.  It wasn't a 'good fit' for me in so many ways...  and as the year progressed on...  I began to "see".  I began to 'awaken' as I sat in my little check-out booth ~ another one of the 'drones' politely 'meeting and greeting' customers, paid a minimum wage  :-/  

I didn't start reading the Ringing Cedars of Russia books until November '10, way after I left the supermarket, but I knew a lot of the basics and i've had my own spray-free garden for decades for health and political reasons.  I learned so much in that supermarket job (Feb '09- June '10), not just the 'theory' or the 'rhetoric'...  but I became a part of that 'machine' which is  "the modern 'food' distribution mechanism".  It's insidious...  in so many ways.  A viewing of "Food Inc." movie put the seal on the deal of everything i'd felt, perceived, seen, intuited, pondered while in that job.  Now, I really hate supermarkets...  packaged, processed... 'nothing'...  death in a sachet...  euuuugggghhhh....   And people don't see it...  are blinded by decades of conditioning and acceptance of the status quo...  "Let's all go to the supermarket" !!!

And I did today... with great reluctance.  I'm pretty careful...  and mainly just got a fortnight's worth of dairy...  and some semolina, which i've been 'hangin' out for'  :D   But i'm also aware that dairy products are loaded to the hilt with various drenches and veterinary medicines, oil-based fertilisers, hormones, pesticides...  whatever else they want to stick on the grass that the poor cows have to eat.  And the cows don't get to live out their natural life-cycle.  Those poor cows...  the spirit has been torn out of them.  You can see it in their doleful eyes in the Autumn still...  still mourning the loss of the little one that got torn from her side minutes after she'd licked off its afterbirth in Spring (July-Aug)...  that she was forced to bear, being impregnated by a man in a big rubber glove thrust into her up to his armpit.  Uncomfortable?  Painful?  You betcha.  And now they take her little one away who was forced to be born within a 6-week window...  so that all the cows 'come in' together...  into the milking shed    : (   Sad.  Flesh as commodity  : (    That's the kiwi farmer mentality...  always with one eye on the Bank Statement   : (   exceptions of course...  thankfully  : )

Dairy farming in this country is just horrible...  no respect for Life  : (   And this factory farming totally upsets the natural balance of the Land  : (   and the waterways  : (  The carbon footprint Fonterra is responsible for is something like 70% of the nation's footprint.  Additionally, we (taxpayers) fork out around 90% of Fonterra's carbon tax bill, through our taxes !!  Why is this?  And why are we, here in NZ, being expected to pay global prices for dairy products produced right here?  There seems to be some shady dealings going on here  : (

4 comments:

  1. History

    In New Zealand, dairy co-operatives have long been the main organisational structure in the industry. The first dairy co-operative was established in Otago in 1871. By 1920, there were 600 dairy processing factories of which about 85% were owned by co-operatives. In the 1930s there were around 500 co-operatives but after World War II, improved transportation, processing technologies and energy systems led to a trend of consolidation, where the co-operatives merged and became larger and fewer in number. By the late 1990s, there were four co-operatives: the Waikato-based New Zealand Dairy Group, the Taranaki-based Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, Westland Milk Products and Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company.

    Fonterra was formed in 2001 from the merger of the two largest co-operatives, New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, together with the New Zealand Dairy Board, which had been the marketing and export agent for all the co-operatives. Fonterra effectively has monopoly control of the New Zealand domestic and export dairy industry. The merger was supported by the New Zealand Government, with subsequent legislation deregulating the dairy industry, allowing for the export of dairy products to be undertaken by any company. The two smaller co-operatives, Tatua and Westland, did not join Fonterra, preferring to remain independent.

    The company has an annual turnover of around US$8 billion. Its core business consists of exporting dairy products under the NZMP brand (95% of its New Zealand production is exported). It also operates a fast-moving consumer goods business for dairy products, Fonterra Brands. Fonterra has a number of subsidiaries and joint-venture companies operating in markets around the world.

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    Replies
    1. Oops... no reference provided for the above text and the text box below : ( There's an amendment to the turnover since my last reading in 2011 ~ the company possibly increased its turnover from $8 billion to $17 billion over the last 12 months... quite possible, what with the "global food shortage" and all :-/ ie: Commodities Traders manipulating world food prices to increase their profit margins and satisfy their share holders and screw the consumer even more in the thumb-screws of the Commodities Market.

      "The company has an annual turnover of around US$17 billion..." (Wiki)

      A thought in passing... The Chinese interest poised to buy up Crafar Farms may soon be one of these share holders : ( NZ profits going offshore. Shame... SHAME... SHAME !!!! John Key :(

      Scurrilous.

      Arrest that man !!

      HE IS A CRIMINAL !!!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonterra

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  2. Proposed changes to capital structure

    In November 2007, the board of directors announced a two-year consultation programme regarding their preferred capital re-structuring option: putting the business operations in a separate listed company, with the co-operative maintaining a controlling interest. The aim was to give more access to funds for global growth.

    Praised by some as a bold move which would allow better access to outside capital, the proposals encountered significant opposition from both farmer shareholders and the government (who would be required to pass enabling legislation). Despite including a range of safeguards, farmers were clearly concerned at the risk of losing control; in what was sometimes described as a demutualization.

    The board responded in 2008 by shelving the November 2007 proposal and continuing consultation and discussion with farmer shareholders. In September 2009, the board announced a three-step process to revamp Fonterra’s capital structure. The new approach abandoned thoughts of a public listing of Fonterra shares and retained 100% farmer control and ownership of the co-operative...

    The second step changed the way Fonterra shares were valued to reflect that share ownership is restricted to farmers only...

    ... farmers would buy or sell shares among themselves at market prices through a farmer-only share trading market...

    As part of the changes, farmers would have greater flexibility with their Fonterra shareholding.


    ... The fund would pay farmers for the right to receive dividends and the gain/loss from any changes in value of some of their shares, but the farmer would still be the owner of the shares...

    ... Fonterra would require the fund to target "friendly" investors such as sharemilkers, retired farmers and offshore Fonterra suppliers, although the public and institutions would also be able to participate.*

    The "Trading Among Farmers" proposal went before a special meeting on 30 June 2010 and received 89% support from farmer shareholders voting, easily exceeding the 75% threshold required for a favourable vote. Fonterra is now progressing implementation of farmer share trading with the new system possibly taking effect from mid 2011.

    * this is the clause that worries me. What happens if 'the public and institutions' became great enough in number to 'tip' the 75% threshold. I'm surprised actually that it's as high as 75%. I smell a rat : (

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  3. Original post July 24 2011

    Did anyone hear about "Pure Advantage" being set up in NZ a couple of weeks ago? Here are excerpts of a blog by Nathan Argent found on the Greenpeace site.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/news/blog/will-pure-advant...


    Will "Pure Advantage" fulfill its promise?

    Blogpost by Nathan Argent - July 11, 2011 at 11:49

    "Last Thursday I attended the launch of the new Pure Advantage campaign – a campaign led by some of New Zealand’s most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. This group, which includes the likes of Sir Stephen Tindall, Geoff Ross and Joan Withers, have coalesced to form Pure Advantage to add to the growing concert of academics, economists, progressive companies and environmental groups demanding that the Government takes action to protect our reputation and move New Zealand towards a cleaner, smarter way of doing business.

    "... was well attended by industry royalty, notable commentators, financiers and politicians from across the spectrum, although government representation was notable for its absence.

    "The message from the speakers, including Chris Liddell, Rob Morrison and polar explorer Rob Swan was clear – in a world that is rapidly moving to a low carbon way of doing business, New Zealand could become a leading exporter of renewable energy and clean technology expertise and underpin our future prosperity...

    "Indeed, the case is compelling. The growth of the global green economy is forecast to grow to an estimated US$6.8 trillion by 2015, much of which is being invested by countries who are both existing and emerging trading partners, desperate to claim the clean energy crown and cement their position as the world’s economic power house. As President Obama put it: the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century.

    "Yet, the lack of leadership, the cosy relationship with climate change dinosaurs such as Solid Energy and Fonterra and the plague of myopic thinking at the top of our government threatens to undermine this opportunity and increasingly isolate us on the global stage. The Government’s recent Green Growth Discussion paper is a case in point.

    "Indeed, one of the most pertinent points made last week underlines this need for action and leadership. In 2006, New Zealand's environmental performance was ranked first out of 146 countries; last year we came in 15th and as a result our economy is suffering. Our GDP now ranks 57th in the world, behind Nigeria and Kazakhstan..."

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