I don’t usually comment on Matthew Hooton’s statements and commentaries. His behaviour on RNZ this morning, shouting down both Kathryn Ryan and Mike Williams offended my ideas about free speech, democracy and fairness. Hooton accused Cunliffe of lying, and no-one was given space to reply.
So I am adding my thoughts and the results of my (and others) google searches on the topic, in the interests of democratic debate.
Hooton’s claims beginng at about 9.42 of this podcast.
First Hooton talked about Andrea Vance’s claims about David Cunliffe’s CV:
David Cunliffe doesn’t quite tell the truth and Andre Vance …
Then, Hooton states,
He makes claims which simply don’t seem to stack up about his own career.
Then a bit later the main claim:
Except that whenever I do know something about the topic where he made his claims, I know that what he says is untrue. For example he told the Dominion that he had helped in the formation of Fonterra. Well as it happened I spent about 2 and a half years working on that particular project. There were negotiations in secret between Kiwi dairies and New Zealand Dairy group and the Dairy Board. All through 2000. And then we announced the Fonterra proposal in late 2001. And then there was the big parliamentary process and the farmers voted on it in 2001 and then the company was finally formed.
Anyway, according to David Cunliffe he helped with the formation of Fonterra when he was at the Boston Consultancy Group. Well that is obviously a lie because he was selected as the Labour, no it was a lie. The Labour Party. He was selected as a Labour Party candidate in 1998. He became an MP in 1999. He Fonterra proposal wasn’t even talked about.
And I was also a management consultant tasked with advising on the formation of Fonterra from Kiwi Cooperative Dairies and the New Zealand Dairy Group.
I have long taken an interest in this most crucial industry for the New Zealand economy and am proud to have been part of the Government that set up Fonterra in the first place.
And Cunliffe quoted in the Dominion Post 21 Sept 2013,
“I got to work in a dozen different industry sectors, helped with the split up of ECNZ [the Electricity Corporation], helped with the formation of Fonterra, …
Hooton’s claim rest on the claim that there was no work on the setting up of Fonterra before 1998/9.
Actually Cunliffe’s CV on wikipedia says he was with BCG 1995-1999.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has worked with the industry for over ten years including jointly preparing the so-called McKinsey Report on Industry Structure, which recommended a single, integrated organisation as the best way to maximise the value for farmer shareholders. In addition, BCG has worked extensively with the marketing arm of the industry, both in the New Zealand Milk and NZMP businesses.
Further information on this BCG work that led up to the mergers of companies like NZ Dairy Company that resulted in the advent of Fonterra:
In 1994, four dairy companies commissioned an Industry Efficiency Improvement Study (IEIS) carried out by the Boston Consulting Group. This study identified that if the then 15 co-operative merged in four, an efficiency gain of between NZ$190 million and NZ$253 million per annum (Graham, 1996) could be achieved. That would translate to an increase of nearly 12 per cent over the base payout to farmers which at that time was of NZ$ 2.90 per kilo of milk solids. In response to this opportunity a working team of NZDB and Dairy Company CEOs was formed to formulate how to capture the benefits identified by the IEIS. This became the Business Development Project (BDP) (Graham, 1998).
4.1 Mergers and Centralisation of Processing
In 1994, several dairy companies commissioned an Industry Efficiency Improvement Study (IEIS) carried out by the Boston Consulting Group. This resulted in the setting up of an industry committee to look at ways of capturing the efficiencies identified by the report, which called for a rationalisation of the then-15 co-operatives to only four co-op dairy companies. As a result, the committee initiated the Business Development Project (BDP).
So Mr Hooton, tell me where Cunliffe has lied about this?