New Zealand Labour Party

Spierings should lead by example and take a pay cut

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings’ $770,000 pay rise at a time when farmer’s incomes have been halved will enrage many who face farming at a loss into the next season at least, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“This is the worst example of New Zealand’s culture of corporate arrogance in which company bosses demand ever increasing salaries despite declining returns to shareholders.

“Crucial decisions over investments in Chinese farms and an 18 per cent purchase in a Chinese company Beingmate bring into question the management decisions being made at Fonterra.

“Farmers will be concerned that at a time of drastic cost cutting in their own businesses, their chief executive is earning $4.49 million – a staggering $1595 an hour – and 22 other senior managers are pocketing salaries of more than $1 million.

“It will be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for the 523 Fonterra staff who were made redundant in July and the hundreds more that learnt this week they will also lose their jobs.

“These people were employed under Theo Spierings’ tenure as chief executive.

“It’s time Theo Spierings led by example and tightened his own belt. He should forego half his salary out of respect for the hardship his farmers and workers are facing,” Damien O’Connor says.