"> Oh, the hypocrisy - eDairyNews-EN
Mark Chamberlain seeks a translation for one of his cooperative’s box-ticking exercises.
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Mark Chamberlain seeks a translation for one of his cooperative’s box-ticking exercises.

I HAVE TO SAY, ACADEMIC GREATNESS is not what I am remembered for at my old school. Former teachers remember me, I’m sure, for other deeds. But I learnt quickly to think for myself and to question things.

Recently, I have had tonnes of thinking time. Sitting on a tractor going in ever diminishing circles and milking endless rows of cows. And it has only now occurred to me that our farmer cooperatives must be employing people that actually agree with Green Party views and Labour policies. It is a hard to prove theory but is surely a mathematical probability. Is it possible that these employees not only support these views but that they are enacting them? Making a change from within?

Fonterra has introduced a new compliance tool called the ‘Cooperative Difference’ – no one in Auckland could see the oxymoron? Really?

Without getting too deep in the weeds, Fonterra will take 10c per kg of milksolid off suppliers and depending on how many boxes we can tick correctly and, if you are a good boy/girl/other; they will return none, some, or all of it.

Sound straightforward? What is interesting is that there are levels of achievement labelled in a language I do not understand. I have asked that perhaps Fonterra can put an English translation beside these names as well, so that we can actually learn what they are trying to communicate.

My lovely wife sometimes believes my pronouns could be ‘argumentative’ and ‘belligerent’, but I am certainly not ignorant. Stop licking your double-scooped wokey-pokey ice-creams and concentrate on meaningful messaging, rather than tokenistic virtue signaling.

They have also gone hard at high-input feed systems and their nitrogen surpluses per hectare. These farms, in their own small way, have helped Fonterra become what it is today – providing consistent milk all season as opposed to a bell-shaped curve.

They have asked these farmers to reduce their nitrogen surplus more or less overnight, so they can qualify for the Cooperative Difference (and hence get some of their money back) yet Fonterra has promised the government that they will stop burning coal within the next generation… or thereabouts.

We are repeatedly told that our customers are demanding this from us. The confusion really sets in when I read that New Zealand is importing two million tonnes of coal, some of which, ironically, must generate power for dairy sheds and even more confusingly, that our biggest customer is the world’s biggest polluter, with questionable human rights violations.

Are we to believe that these ‘customers’ are so paranoid about what the farmers are doing at the coalface (excuse the pun) yet will happily turn a blind eye to other hypocrisies? I find that hard to believe.

It may seem I’ve gone a bit hard at them, but I am very proud to supply Fonterra. Nobody should retreat from healthy and robust debate as it keeps us all honest, and engaged.

You see, it is as if Fonterra is not only singing off the same hymn sheet as the government but that James Offshore is playing the organ while comrade Cindy conducts.

I say this of course without a shred of evidence but as my wife tells me, timing is everything. Because it appears that all of this started happening when Fonterra finally got traction around the softening of the DIRA regulations, something that was nigh on impossible during nine years of a perceived farmer friendly National Government… but achieved within just three years of a slightly slippery socialist one.

What did Labour ask for in return? I certainly would have asked for something if I were them.

My neighbour thinks I am cynical, maybe so – but as an old salty sea dog once told me, there are no coincidences in Wellington.

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