Good work if you can get it

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, September 27th, 2017 - 116 comments
Categories: climate change, Economy, economy, Environment, ETS, farming, national, nz first, same old national, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, water, winston peters, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

If you wanted to know all that is wrong with New Zealand right now recent publicity about Fonterra’s boss Theo Spiering’s salary provides a perfect example. The boss of the organisation owned by farmers who complained bitterly at how cleaning up our rivers that they polluted and addressing climate change caused by their stock would send them broke is paying the boss of their organisation large amounts of money. Without complaint.

How much? A cool $8.3 million a year which is $160,000 a week. And he is not the only Fonterra executive with a super sized pay cheque.

From Stuff:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings earned a total of $8.32 million in 2017, a 57 per cent jump from last year.

His earnings are made up of a $2.46m base salary, superannuation benefits of $170,036, and performance payments for 2016 and 2017 of $1.83m and $3.85m, the co-operative’s latest annual reports shows.

Spierings is not the only big earner in New Zealand’s largest company, with 23 other executives receiving up to $1m for their efforts. Of those, five left the company during the year.

I am surprised the farming community is not up in arms like they were at the thought of paying a modest water tax during the last weeks of the election.

Where are the pitch forks and the loud protests and the marching in the street with rather awkward protest signs? There has been not a peep from the so called backbone of the country since the news broke.

Paying modest amounts to a fund that will start the clean up process is bad but paying the chief executive and others ridiculous amounts for doing their job is fine?

Rachel Stewart in the Herald has the perfect response in this article discussing Peters’ play for Government:

Winston is also a rare breed of politician who uses the word “neo-liberal” as a pejorative. This is good. This is very, very good. Because on Monday, a perfectly odious illustration of the “n” word made for nauseating headlines. One that inspired the NZF leader to put his money where his mouth is.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings’ salary (including bonuses) of nearly $8.3m was announced. It made for sickening reading, and not only for the many Kiwis struggling to afford the basics of milk and cheese. It is a galling example of everything wrong with our nation’s addiction to dairy farming, nest feathering, and inequality.

Fonterra wasted no time in attempting to justify the bonuses. Chairman John Wilson said short-term and senior executive incentives were met, which brought in about $2 billion of cash and working capital.

“Clearly these numbers are high from a New Zealand perspective and we absolutely respect and understand that, from an Australasian and a global perspective which is the nature of our business, they’re actually well within the bands of what those global executives earn.”

Oh, so it’s New Zealanders who just don’t understand the ways of the world then? Here’s an idea. How about Spierings’ remuneration being tied to meeting water quality and environmental targets, rather than how much capital he raised.

I can understand Fonterra’s fear of a progressive Government.  It by itself is one of the country’s biggest CO2 emitters because of the burning of coal to turn milk into powder.  Farming also produces huge amounts of methane and the farming sector as a whole produced 46% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2013..  In 2013 it pumped out 1.17 million tonnes of CO2.  The country’s total output of CO2 and equivalent greenhouse gasses (including methane) was 76 million tonnes.  Farmers seem to think it unfair that they should pay the cost of their pollution of the world’s environment.  But if you are going to preserve the environment, and farming needs a sustainable environment, then the cost has to be met.

But hey someone accuse me of engaging in the politics of envy.  After all these people are super beings with amazing talents that justify the payment to them of insane amounts of money while their company sells a product that too many poor Kiwi families cannot afford to buy.

116 comments on “Good work if you can get it ”

  1. David C 1

    Funny.
    Lefties whine that NZ doesnt add value to products before sending them offshore then when a company does this they whine about a chap getting paid a fair whack.
    That glass of milk really is half empty all the time huh?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      You can add value to a product and not pay someone more a week than pretty well anyone earns a year.

    • Bearded Git 1.2

      “A fair whack”-$8.2 million a year!

      I’d love to hear the opinion of share-milkers on this, up to their armpits in muck getting up at 4am every morning and getting paid the equivalent of 2 days of Spierings’ annual salary.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      You can’t articulate the argument you affect disagreement with. That’s why you have to run these pathetic red herring lines instead.

      The whinging about water charges just got put into context.

    • Robert Guyton 1.4

      Add value? I thought they subtracted water?

    • DoublePlusGood 1.5

      Fonterra is supposed to be a coop with farmers being the shareholders. If that’s true, this vast largesse arising from business success should be redistributed among the shareholders.
      That…is how it is supposed to work, right? Fonterra has failed in their capitalist obligations to their shareholders.

    • Stuart Munro 1.6

      Yeah – what is Fonterra making that we weren’t making in 1960?

      Not a sausage.

      Bulk commodities – the same blight that gets us among the lowest per kilo fisheries returns in the world.

      The guys who actually get good returns back to the farmers – Westland for one – manage without 7 figure salaries.

      • David C 1.6.1

        Yeah right. Apples and bananas there..
        Westland is what.. a 50th the size of Fonterra?

        • Stuart Munro 1.6.1.1

          And size is a good thing? Fonterra’s effective monopoly makes it lazy and unaccountable. It’s really just a producer board in drag – and if it can’t compete with agile light-footed operators it’s not because it’s cleverer.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 1.7

      It is what constitutes ” a fair whack” that is the issue, David C.

    • mpledger 1.8

      The thing is that Fontarra aren’t adding much value to the product before it goes off-shore (according to Bernard Hickey), their core product is milk power i.e. milk+heat.

      • David C 1.8.1

        well there is about 20 million cubic meters of milk produced a year… getting rid of the water (80%?) out of it seems pretty sensible to me..

        maybe they can arrange a water tax refund for putting that back into the environment?

        • DoublePlusGood 1.8.1.1

          That isn’t how hydrology works.

        • Brigid 1.8.1.2

          “well there is about 20 million cubic meters of milk produced a year… getting rid of the water (80%?) out of it seems pretty sensible to me..”
          And that’s what you call adding value?
          The sum of Fontera’s added value?
          No more than the dairy board were doing in the 1950s 60s.

          It seems only you are fooled.

    • I suppose the question is: Is there anyone willing to do the same job for less?

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that there’s several thousand.

      I find it amazing that supply and demand doesn’t seem to apply to CEOs.

      • tracey 1.9.1

        It is like an unwritten rule to keep their wages high, to keep claiming we need to pay this to attract the “best”. That is patently BS. there are many people capable of doing this job. Recently a Sports Ass chose an English man over a local candidate. Now he needs a work visa etc and the checks by Immigration over “whether a kiwi can do the job” are lacking. It is not who is the very very best person to do the job but cana kiwi do it.

        • McFlock 1.9.1.1

          Capitalism does not pay the highest income person who does the best job.

          Capitalism pays the highest income to the person who is best at negotiating a high income. This tends to be at the expense of actual management performance.

          [edit: that link is to a pdf of a study that found that firms which paid CEOs in the top 10% bracket returned on average 13% lower profits to shareholders than the average stock return]

          • Tracey 1.9.1.1.1

            I have seen similar stats. That is why I say it is an unwritten rule whereby they all perpetuate the BS line to keep CEO wages high.

            • KJT 1.9.1.1.1.1

              And Japan manages to have some of the world’s biggest and most successful companies. With most top executives paid less than an eighth of Fonterra,s.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.9.1.1.2

            I believe there’s a large amount of who you know in there as well.

            • McFlock 1.9.1.1.2.1

              yup. As well as “what’s in your pants” and “what’s your ethnicity”.

            • Kevin 1.9.1.1.2.2

              It’s an ‘old boys club’ of the worst kind DTB.

              You can be shit at the job, realise your time is up, take the golden handshake and then move on to the next CEO job with the commensurate salary.

              Look how hard it is to actually get rid of some of these CEO’s. The cost is fucking ridiculous.

    • Gabby 1.10

      Fair whack my arse davy.

    • lloyd 1.11

      Fronterra adds less value to its milk than any other milk company operating in New Zealand

    • Jason 1.12

      Fonterra doesn’t actually add value to many of its products at all. Despite that being an obvious objective. See https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/30/51025/rod-oram-fonterra-failing-basic-tests

      three big problems:

      – Fonterra is still a massive volume, not value, player in global dairy markets, to the detriment of its owners and the New Zealand economy;

      – China is highly problematic for the co-op, particularly its $700m investment in Beingmate, a local infant formula company;

      – It is unclear how Spierings and other senior executives are earning their big bonuses; and are they incentivised on the right performance measures?

  2. Dazzer 2

    “There has been not a peep from the so called backbone of the country since the news broke.” BS

  3. CoroDale 3

    Borrowing billions internationally at Ponzi scheme interest-rates. Fonterra dumps milk on the international market, and charges NZ consumers double the price.
    Head office: (In NZ’s banking district!) 109 Fanshawe Street, Auckland Central,
    Classical Masonic architecture, and space out front for dozens of tractors with political banner swinging from the forks.

    Executives are lucky, farms are too busy with crap weather, haven’t the time to complain.

  4. Once was Tim 4

    It’s all a bit hazy now but was it not these same Masters of the Universe that pushed for restructuring of Fonterra so that it was no longer a true cooperative such that the participants shares (or at least any profits from them) could be listed and sold?
    The effect then being that farmers were then solely dependent on the earnings from a per kg. price on what they produced?

    IF that is so, you can then imagine the pressure from banks and others to sell in order to repay debt, or even perhaps just to buy treats and trinkets or take a holiday to Bali with wifey and the kids. And in this case, not something easy to reverse.

    Sounds a bit like Natzi reasoning for the sale of power companies – that is a short term windfall rather than long term returns.

    Can anyone clarify?

    • GregJ 4.1

      The changes to the capital structure are fairly well covered on the Wikipedia entry for Fonterra.

      Spierings was appointed CEO in 2011 after the vote to change the capital structure occurred. I imagine though that many of the board are the same people.

  5. Ad 5

    What bugs me is not his salary . Fonterra are slowly getting less mistake-prone, and very slowly turning their attention to value-added products and services.

    What bugs me is that after 9 years of calm economic conditions under a highly capitalist government, Fonterra remains our largest company and the closest to it, Fletcher Building, is weakening. Where is the great economy with outstanding progressive world leading businesspeople that we should expect?

    We have no other giant companies pulling in the world’s wealth here and bringing outstanding careers and R&D , driving productivity and wages up and up.

    Instead we have Fonterra alone, stumbling along. When it was formed it was the third largest dairy company in the world, and it’s now slipped to sixth, and continuing to fall. We deserve a better economy than this, guided by a smart government.

    • tc 5.1

      It’s not a company it’s a co-op, one that’s effectively a logitics outfit running a farm to market model. The largest boys club I’ve seen in this land behind Fletchers and it’s equally craptacular management.

      You can’t compare it to companies as it’s forced to distribute to it’s unit holders via the payouts. It’s this co-op model that allows alot of ineffective and inefficient processes, overpaid managers, out of control IT spend (SAP etc) to hide out in.

      If Dairy farmers were actually taken for a tour through the largesse that vendors and managers indulge in compared to say how Tatua operate they’d be a very angry mob indeed.

      NZ is all about niche, Fonterra is all about commodity and needs to be smashed up into niches IMO. It’s keeping other nimble players out and not returning the value it should to the farmers.

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        But that sounds like *splutter* communism …

        • tc 5.1.1.1

          Isn’t that what a co-op model is about Mickey ? Maximum distribution to members and keeping the central mechanism as lean and market focused as possible.

          There’s a reason Tatua and others have long lists of Fonterra farmers wanting in as they pay more / KG.

          Isn’t that clear evidence the scale model has failed alongside paying Theo ‘next in line’ Sperrings a massive amount to do SFA just like Ferrier and others before him.

          If these blokes are soooo good why isn’t the payout/kg better than the smaller operators ?

          • Once was Tim 5.1.1.1.1

            Can you answer my question above @4?
            If that’s the case then it’s less of a coop.
            It seems that its a howto on corporatising a cooperative.
            The day the Coop Bank tried that shit on would be the day I left them.
            It seems by doing this, they allowed their shares to be traded (and presumably to be sold offshore). A lesson on how to lose control of your destiny.

            Presumably all done in the name of ‘foreign investment’ – code for ownership with profits going offshore.

            Remember …. it’s a question

            • tc 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes that appears to be the case, Weldon probably had a hand in this as they were eyeing it off as a juicy NZX listing.

              Weldon’s NZX also hoovered up rural publications critical of this share trading structure as the slippery slope to another Fletchers or any large corporate you can name that uses it’s board as a shield paying out massive exec salaries.

              So it’s sort of a half way house as far as I bothered following it as once I saw Weldon BS and spin around why NZX were buying up rural magazines I smelt a rat.

              The boys gone onto prove my instincts about right based on his work at mediawonks as he’s not served their shareholders very well has he.

              • Once was Tim

                OK. So its a Cooperative on paper and in name only without SFA of the benefits, but effectively a corporation – subject to the whims of its masters of the universe board and CEO. They’ll claim they have a duty to their shareholders of course – but who exactly are those shareholders?
                Are they still the farmer, or the owner/profit-taker of the shares?

                I can only imagine the effect of large parcels of shares being snapped up by something like Nestle or another in the future (bearing in mind the state of our Comm Comm).
                Seems to me that many farmers were hoodwinked. The reason I asked the question is that I seem to remember NinetoNoon discussing it all years ago with some farmers’ representative expressing their concern.

                You know what will happen of course….it’ll go the same way as something like Xero inevitably will.
                And yes, I agree – it was probably someone like Weldon’s bright idea.
                Short termism

                • Tracey

                  Coop mames it sound like the sharehokder farmers are in control. They are not. It is a giant corporate monopoly and behaves accordingly.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.2

            If these blokes are soooo good why isn’t the payout/kg better than the smaller operators ?

            They’re over paid – by about $8m/year.

    • Gabby 5.2

      He’s getting over 1% of the profits addy. I guess that leaves a bit for the shareholders.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    Good piece here mickysavage, I think your opening line said it all…
    “If you wanted to know all that is wrong with New Zealand right now recent publicity about Fonterra’s boss Theo Spiering’s salary provides a perfect example ”

    His salary is an obscenity.

    Greed has shown itself to be public enemy number one, as we have just witnessed, a huge part of NZ’s voting public just opted to promote (or at the very least maintain) their own self interests over that of the common good…which is all a vote for National amounts too once you cut away the froth and the rhetoric.

    I do believe that going forward Labour has to understand that this middle vote that it relied on so heavily on during Clarke’s time has for all intents and purposes gone, the third way, New Labour project is doomed, that much is plainly obvious.

    This has proved to be the case in the UK, and in the US where the only successful way forward for a real Left project has been embracing a traditional and core (called hard Left by a reactionary media, like The Guardian) Left wing manifesto, and talk directly to the hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised voters who are desperate for a voice, and have shown that they will not only come out and vote, but are inspired to work hard on the ground to promote Socialism.

    Corbyn and Sanders have shown quite clearly what a real ‘Youth Quake’ looks like, and what real mobilized citizens who are inspired by the prospect of REAL change also looks like…having Grant Robertson, Mike Williams, Helen Clarke looking like the optical backbone of Ardern is certainly not that..unfortunately for us and for the country.

    • Greed has shown itself to be public enemy number one

      We’ve actually known that for several thousand years:

      Keeping the playing field level was a matter of survival. These small-scale, nomadic foraging groups didn’t stock up much surplus food, and given the high-risk nature of hunting – the fact that on any given day or week you may come back empty-handed – sharing and cooperation were required to ensure everyone got enough to eat. Anyone who made a bid for higher status or attempted to take more than their share would be ridiculed or ostracised for their audacity. Suppressing our primate ancestors’ dominance hierarchies by enforcing these egalitarian norms was a central adaptation of human evolution, argues social anthropologist Christopher Boehm. It enhanced cooperation and lowered risk as small, isolated bands of humans spread into new habitats and regions across the world, and was likely crucial to our survival and success.

      The reason hasn’t really changed – it still comes down to survival but we’ve been persuaded that Greed is Good. This wouldn’t be the first time either. We can go back to the Roman Empire, the British Empire, The Greek and the Egyptian. And they all ended the same way – the same way that our present empire will.

      Unfortunately, our present is set to take a hell of a lot of other life with it.

  7. Good post. Obscene for sure and shows the farmers are more like the beasts they work than they’d probably imagine.

    Butter is $6.50 a Block here – 6 fucken fifty dollars.

    Another big sham is saying these top execs are worth that – they arent – it is bullshit. They get paid it because the people that do the same things get it. Oh and who sets those values? They fucken do!

  8. Whispering Kate 8

    I am not up with the economics thing of Fonterra but from a simple perspective, if farmers can afford to and willingly allow their CEO to earn this huge amount per annum – then surely they can afford to pay water levies to help clean up the waterways of this country. Why are they whinging if they are so wealthy they can let their CEO earn this much.

  9. Melanie Scott 9

    Fonterra is a huge monopoly. They don’t have any competition in NZ so why does a CEO (in NZ) need to be paid such a ridiculous amount? How does that help the economy? Apart from the urgent need to clean up the environment which has been so badly abused by dairy farming, would it not be better to help the local economy by a) keeping the domestic price of dairy products lower, b) pay the farmers more so they could spend more in the local economy (hopefully)? The priority should certianly go addressing the environmental impact. Perhaps Mr Thiering could set up a trust for environmental r&d? I won’t hold my breath.

    • tracey 9.1

      Then this will make your blood boil. Ratepayers outpaying farmers by quite a lot…

      Perhaps we should picket farms?

      https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/ratepayers-dwarf-farming-industry-93-million-in-funds-given-clean-up-nzs-fresh-water-2017

      • lprent 9.1.1

        You have to love the way that almost all of the farmer contribution to cleaning up fresh water are estimates and not sunstantiated or backed by anything apart from Nick Smith.

        Perhaps they should formally and transparently account for all of the investment that they assert that they are doing. Then at least you wouldn’t have a known liar with numbers like Nick Smith smearing them by trying to say what they have really been doing. It isn’t like he is a credible source.

        I remain quite unconvinced that farmers are doing enough towards cleaning up their own mess that they produce with the countries water. All that I hear are unsubstantiated anecdote by the people with the least to lose if they are lying, and steadily deteriorating water stats for everywhere except the cities and where NGOs are involved.

        Plus of course Nick Smith redefining ever worse standards for water pollution so that his pollution stats in the countryside don’t look like National’s miserable failure. It just makes the farmers look like miserable failures if they have spent a purported 10 billion dollars of their own money resulting in worse standards for ‘fresh’ water and measurable poorer quality in almost every aquifer and waterway that they are associated with.

        • Gristle 9.1.1.1

          Fonterra, like Dr Smith, are also playing fast and loose with definitions.

          The programme of fencing waterways is defined (going from memory) encompassing bodies of water at least 1m wide and continuously flowing. So automatically the Selwyn and many other Canterbury Rivers are removed from the mix as they don’t flow continuously. And one of the reasons that they don’t flow continuously is the volume of water extracted for dairy irrigation.

          In North Otago there is an instance of a dairy farmer using a creek as his stock track, and then getting the stock underneath the road using the Waikaura Creek Bridge as an underpass (as the State Highway bridge takes the traffic over the top of the creek.) see Creek in StreetView

          Even with this definition the claim that 90% of waterways are fenced is really incorrect unless you add the tautological criteria that” a waterway is something that is fenced.”

          Further, having fencing only implies that stock do not go in the waterway. On the weekend, up in the North Island, I saw one fenced riverbank being grazed by dairy cattle.

          (Why is it that every time I hear the phrase “Dr Smith” I see the the robot from Space Family Robinson flailing its arms and crying “Danger! Danger!.”)

        • greywarshark 9.1.1.2

          On Nick Smith – it is interesting that he is in an electorate with a lot of retired people. And Nelson is so comfortable to live in, good weather, an airport, lovely surroundings and teachers fight to get jobs here. Such a lot of comfortable people, who don’t want to take a real interest in the difficulties of the country. They may have 30 years left to live after they retire of the same ‘careless rapture’. Or they keep on working and congratulate themselves that they are still contributing to society, not a superannuiant without thinking about the shrinking jobs there are. But insurance companies have the line about not wanting your standard of living to go down when you retire. Not many of them are hard working, worn out hulks having worn out all their joints slaving for their wages as young to middle aged do.

          So Nick keeps getting in in Nelson, the petty bourgeois think he’s all right. Water and stuff, we’re all right, that’s an SEP. He started off cleverly with renting out half his house as an electorate office. Now has a small hall for meetings for the worthies of the community, good works etc. And keeps up a constant campaign of photo ops grinning beside the latest edifice or service that has been started in the region, and regularly provides a diary of his doings, and the things he wants to be connected with.

        • Tracey 9.1.1.3

          And that this story had to wait til AFTER 23 September

  10. jcuknz 10

    I agree that it is an obscene salary/payment for NZ. But with the idiots pressing for us to be part of the global economy it is simply pigeons coming home to roost. People running big outfits on the global scene get big payments and it doesn’t really depend on if they are any good as the guys basic salary of 2.6 million shows … also an obscene amount.

    I wish though folk here would get their facts right because more pollution comes from townies than farmers who are slowly getting it right while townies do little or nothing that I can see happening.

    • mpledger 10.1

      One of the commentators on RNZ said that a big European dairy company that has twice the turn-over of Fonterra and has more value-added products than Fonterra has a boss that is earning half the amount that the boss of Fonterra is.

      And that Spierings performance payments must be based on milk powder because their value added production is so low and that is a terrible incentive structure because it’s just the same product that we’ve been producing for ever.

      He also said that the reporting of Spierings pay was reported incredibly poorly so it’s very hard to know what’s going on compared to the openness of comparable organisations in Europe.

    • I wish though folk here would get their facts right because more pollution comes from townies than farmers who are slowly getting it right while townies do little or nothing that I can see happening.

      [Citation Needed]

      No evidence I’ve seen shows that farmers are getting better. Lots showing the opposite.

      Townies, on the other hand, have been cleaning their living space up for centuries. It’s why towns and cities are even habitable.

    • mauī 10.3

      6 million cows are the effluent equivalent of 90 million human’s crapping all over NZ unregulated. Human crap in towns and cities is much more regulated and we only make up less than 5 million in number.

    • joe90 10.5

      while townies do little or nothing that I can see happening

      Tracey’s link above makes it clear who’s doing little or nothing, and it ain’t the townies.

      //

    • Gabby 10.6

      Unfair juicy, I totally stopped shitting in rivers.

    • greywarshark 10.7

      jcuknz
      I’ve noticed that RW rash breaking out on you before. Drink more water (pure) and take walks in the fresh air and let it leak in your every pore.

  11. Ad 11

    Fonterra’s corporate shills are rotating their spin cycles as we speak to make Thiering look like a human being.

    Meantime, here’s what you are supposed to say:

    “Our business to society platform is the modern embodiment of that unique ideal: that a company that doesn’t give value to society shouldn’t exist.”
    – Judy Marks, CEO, Siemens USA.

    Granted, the following interview is rich in jargon, but it has clear commitments and examples of commitments, and underneath it is a whole bunch more useful than the nonsense we got out of the Fonterra Chairman yesterday:

    http://www.politico.com/sponsor-content/2017/09/where-business-meets-society?cid=201709hp

  12. eco maori 12

    There is more to this picture than what meets the eye when someone does the right thing and that pisses some top brass off they get persecuted for doing the right thing.
    Theo is the General of a large operation that’s spans out across our world and a lot of other people are trying to under mine him and fonterra so one has to be a smart cookie to run such a operation and keep all the bad shit that can infect fonterra.
    In my opinion we should celebrating fonterra success one does not bite the hand that feeds it I.E All that foreign cash flowing into OUR economy. Larger society don’t like it when a small country like ours can dictate the price on anything that is the way of the world. and that makes it hard work to get a fair price for there products
    As for pollution well the government is responsible for that they make and break OUR laws and they set the standard fonterra did not set up the shoddy carbon trading scheam guess who did the national did PS I HAVE A POST ON OPEN MIKE 26/09/17
    Its about why we produce milk powder.
    Fonterra is a 2O Billion dollar co operative You no that old saying is you pay what and you get what you will figure it out

  13. tracey 13

    And the cynicism/contempt to wait until the first business day after the election to publish this…

  14. JC 14

    $8.2 Million!! That pay equates to $160,000 per week.

    Median weekly earnings for wage and salary workers rose $32 (3.1 per cent) to $1094 for fulltime workers in the year to June 30, Statistics New Zealand data showed.

    Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was paid $8.32 million in 2017 – an annual increase of 78.5 per cent.

    But remember that’s just the tip of the iceberg, (or Fonterra’s payroll.

    Figures for 2015:

    “(The dairy giant’s last financial statement showed more than 4000 of its 18,000 world-wide staff earn at least $100,000 per year, while 17 staff earn more than $1 million annually.)”

    Fonterra’s highest earners

    $100,000 – $200,000: 3482 staff
    $200,001 – $300,000: 402 staff
    $300,001 – $400,000: 138 staff
    $400,001 – $500,000: 66 staff
    $500,001 – $600,000: 29 staff
    $600,001 – $700,000: 13 staff
    $700,001 – $800,000: 15 staff
    $800,001 – $900,000: 6 staff
    $900,001 – $1 million: 8 staff
    $1 million – $2 million: 13 staff
    $2 million – $3 million: 2 staff
    $3 million – $4 million: 1 staff
    $4 million – $5 million: 1 staff

    (Nb this maybe before they axed 500 jobs).

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/278949/fonterra-defends-top-salaries-after-cuts

    Perhaps if they took a paycut that would cover some of the costs associate with cleaning up our waterways.

    If I recall correctly the revenue from the “water tax” was estimated to be c $100 million. ( or approximately 12 years of Theo Spierings salary, with bonuses.

    Loved this:
    https://twitter.com/MichaelFieldNZ/status/912106185502875649

  15. Ian 15

    If you want a say in the operation of Fonterra put your money where your mouth is and buy a dairy farm ,and become a supplying shareholder.
    There are a few farms on the market at the moment and the added bonus of a 40 cent divident from an approx $6.20 Fonterra share is the icing on the cake.Annual return of 6.45 %,not to be sniffed at.
    But be carefull where you buy your farm as different farming systems and geographical areas influence the economic return and environmental footprint.
    In Canterbury , a fully irrigated dairy farm ,with pivots ,state of the art effluent management , subject to Ecan environmental plans with good infrastructure ,fertility and good location could cost you up to $60000 per Ha .
    For a 200 Ha property thats up to $12 million.Add another $2.17 million for Fonterra shares and your on your way.
    As a shareholder you get an opportunity to speak to Theo at the numerous meetings he attends with shareholders over the year .
    There are a number of specialist dairy farm brokers out there.Why don’t you do it !

    • Tracey 15.1

      Ah… so we can only have an opinion if we own a farm. To follow your logic farmers can have no opinions about anything other than farming… no views allowed on education, policing, health, and so on.

      • Ian 15.1.1

        Fonterra is a privately owned company.You can have as many opinions as you like ,but if you don’t have any skin in the game it’s none of your business,so to speak .

        • tracey 15.1.1.1

          Then we need to pass a law and levy money straight from them and forthwith stop the indirect subsidies to its shareholders. You cool with that? Less R and D from taxpayers. Inclusion in ETS like other polluters ( 450m there)

          https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/ratepayers-dwarf-farming-industry-93-million-in-funds-given-clean-up-nzs-fresh-water-2017

          • Ian 15.1.1.1.1

            Before you pass any laws you need to develop some policies,let the voters Know what they are and if you get the mandate just do it. Untill that happens your just another whining loser.

            • lloyd 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Ian, its fairly obvious from the whining about water taxes and the ridiculous salaries of ineffective executives that dairy farm owners/Fronterra shareholders are whining losers.

        • Stuart Munro 15.1.1.2

          But we do have skin in the game – they’re pooing in our rivers, drying them up, and rigging local dairy prices to make many staples unaffordable.

          These corrupt CEO ‘salaries’ are a US trope – in Korea they’d slap Spierings in jail for a few months while the prosecutors went through the books.

          Never happen here – the Gnats are benter than he is.

    • You either failed to understand the point of the post or deliberately spinning away from it. Considering that you’re a RWNJ I figure that it’s likely to be the latter.

    • joe90 15.3

      Why don’t you do it !

      Clean up your shit, filth.

    • Ad 15.4

      Once you have bought that dairy farm, and bought shares, your voice is through an elected representative on the Fonterra Shareholder Council.

      Can you tell me how this Fonterra Shareholder Council influences the actual Fonterra Board of Directors?

    • Robert Guyton 15.5

      “state of the art effluent management”
      Says it all. Managing sh*t, with pipes and ponds and…stuff.
      Ian; you’ve got it all wrong.

      • Ian 15.5.1

        So how should I manage it Robert ? Package it and sell it to greenies ? The bees are going berserk on the lemonwoods and my conference pears at the moment. Major conference going on in the pear tree today.

        • tracey 15.5.1.1

          You missed Ad’s question. Prolly just an oversight.

          • Ian 15.5.1.1.1

            No oversight tracey. The fonterra board is elected by shareholders. The shareholders council is a very different beast and has been pretty ineffectual over the years for many reasons. It is currently being reduced from 35 to 25 members and hopefully will have more influence.
            But in saying that I have been able to discuss issues with the top table including Theo and They have a pretty difficult job. For example Theo has to consider political risk to Fonterra and I’m not talking about our tinpot bunch of pollies ,but Brexit ,Trump , China/north Korea , middle east / Russia where we sell our highly valued butter ,australia where Fonterra collects 20 % of the milk ,Sri lanka ,and south america ,the Caribean and so on. Try and sort that lot out.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.5.1.1.1.1

              You said it: political risk to Fonterra has nothing to do with 2c per thousand litres and all that posturing was simply a denial of personal responsibility.

              Thanks for confirming that.

            • gsays 15.5.1.1.1.2

              They also have to come up with ideas like making businesses wait 3months instead of two for money fonterra owes them and, this is a doozy, give fonterra a 20%discount!

              Absolutely priceless! What a brilliant business mind, worth every penny.

        • Robert Guyton 15.5.1.2

          State of the art effluent management is soil and the organisms that thrive therein. If your soil can’t manage the effluent that lands on it, you are doing something wrong.
          Good news about the pears-to-bee.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.6

      Why are you so ignorant about everything?

      Investing in R&D with government…

      Now we’ve established that we all have financial skin in the game as well as wanting rivers we can swim in, I expect you’ll start to exhibit a little more gratitude. You can thank me for correcting your ignorance for a start.

  16. Andre 16

    It occurs to me that what with Fonterra allegedly being a co-op ‘n’all, that sign should really say “I’m a stupid capitalist. I pay my employee $160k a week”

  17. Grant 17

    Look, this is neo-liberalism in action. Farmers have nothing to be concerned about – the money will trickle down eventually.
    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2017/09/angry-farmers-savage-fonterra-ceo-theo-spierings-pay-cheque.html

    • Ian 17.1

      Sorry Grant that is newshub in action. A dairy farmer struggling big time rang up and I don’t doubt the severely bad situation they are in. It makes a change from pimping the poor to boost their ratings. They are a sick bunch of so called journalists trying to revive a cadaver. Take no notice.

  18. RuralGuy 18

    I’m a dairy fonterra, supplier and shareholder of Fonterra. I’m not “up in arms”. In fact I think the guy is underpaid.

    For context; my farm produced 198723 kgMS last year. Theo’s salary cost me .004 cents per kgMS. Even if he got paid zero, it would not have made 1 cent of difference to my payout.

    My total contribution to his pay was about $750. At the start of the season the farm gate milkprice was $4.50, and by the end it was $6.52 including the dividend. So my revenue went from $894k to $1.3m. So against the additional 400k that he drove Fonterra to deliver to me, I’m happy to pay the man his $750.

    What’s interesting is that most of the posters here haven’t worked out why Fonterra has achieved. Milk is the highest cost of goods for Fonterra. So he oversaw business improvements that meant that Fonterra could adsorb a milk price that went from $3.90 to over $6.00 but still achieve a strong profit. I got a 40 cent dividend on a milk price that is above $6. That is a phenomenal result.

    His remuneration is set by a board containing 9 farmers, who are elected by the other 10,000 Fonterra members. Theo works for his farmers, and we reward his hard work.

    Finally, it’s also worth bearing in mind that my contribution to milk for schools, kickstart breakfasts and DOC Living Water through Fonterra is about 6 times the cost to me personally than Theo’s salary. So let’s not ignore the fact that this man initiated and impleted the largest ongoing private social good programmes ever seen in this country.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      …but but but 2c per thousand litres is communism and the living end and the sky will fall on your heads.

    • dv 18.2

      Isn’t milk powder etc sold at auction – so price is related to supply demand.

    • geoff 18.3

      All that money sloshing through the fonterra system and yet the polluting goes on.

      You talk about the cost to you of Fonterra’s ‘social good’ programmes but you don’t acknowledge the shagging of the environment by the dairy industry you’re a part of.

      Portraying yourselves as do-gooders while at the same time filling the rivers and aquifiers with cow shit and nitrates and ecoli. Nice.

  19. bwaghorn 19

    The water tax on irrigation was bumble fisted wedge politics. If it was about fixing streams it would have been a tax on all farmers . not just a minority. Nice post to keep building hate on farmers though

    • marty mars 19.1

      He’s paid too much though eh waggy, surely you would concede that.

    • Barfly 19.2

      Irrigation as done currently in Canterbury is it not a very bad idea BW?

      I agree about the irrigation/universal tax but isn’t Canterbury the leading edge of this madness?

      I personally have no hate for farmers (only a little envy because my life is not so shiney)

      I have no hate for you as a farmer and I hope (possibly forlornly) that more farmers learn to see to the world as you do.

      I beg you to have tolerance for those who have no appreciation of your life and circumstances and who attribute beliefs to you from stupidity and ignorance.

      Many people arrogantly (I include myself) simply get things wrong or simplify to an imbecilic degree.

      I believe that you could be invaluable to an incoming government to try to sever this almost “Gordian knot”

  20. Eco maori 20

    Yes I no that things need to change for the better I do care about OUR environment hence eco yes our rivers need to be clean up and this will happen . The big picture is still that national have had the controls they change the rules so our forest could be wasted if national had made laws to keep our environment clean than we would not be arguing about this now
    Trust me when I say some one is shit stirring please there is a larger under bellie in NZ that has a lot of influence hence why the dick heads are still harassing me PLEASE
    Don’t let these people play you

  21. Eco maori 21

    What one needs to consider is there has been no bad MSM coverage on fonterra for ages next minute

  22. Eco maori 22

    Ha Ha I forgot there’s no corruption in the NZ systems everyone rights are respected and All our politicians are truth tellers everyone that is a civil servant never discriminate against any one no not in perfect New Zealand we shear with our neighbours no matter who they are we have a pristine environment we all pay our fair share of taxes we have no debt New Zealand is perfect. All our children are healthy we have no people under the bridge our jails are nearly empty and The MSM All ways reports the truth and is never influence by other conflicting interests
    YEA RIGHT

  23. Eco maori 23

    No One is reading OUR posts on this website no one is spinning shit about me and has to back track and use trivial bull shit to try and damage my credibility there is not a Court order to suppress any information about me Maori have been treated respecfully and been fairly compensated for past wrongs The western society help all 3 world nation Live people live a happy life We have no wars Well I say what a perfect SOCIETY !!!!!!!!!,!!!!!!!!!

  24. Eco maori 24

    by the way I used this same name on fonterra website 12 years ago so I did Not make it up 3 months ago Ka Pai

  25. timeforacupoftea 25

    The only good point of Fonzterror paying the Boss big dollars is that he will be paying IRD $3 million in tax.
    If Gristle is correct pasted below more IRD TAX will be collected to help pay for the unemployed etc.
    $773,000,000 / 100 * 40
    = $309,200,000 Yes another $309 million dollars of IRD TAX
    I would love to know how much in total Fonzterror workers pay in TAX to the IRD each year, God it must be heaps.

    and Gristle said

    .

    Fonterra’s highest earners

    $100,000 – $200,000: 3482 staff
    $200,001 – $300,000: 402 staff
    $300,001 – $400,000: 138 staff
    $400,001 – $500,000: 66 staff
    $500,001 – $600,000: 29 staff
    $600,001 – $700,000: 13 staff
    $700,001 – $800,000: 15 staff
    $800,001 – $900,000: 6 staff
    $900,001 – $1 million: 8 staff
    $1 million – $2 million: 13 staff
    $2 million – $3 million: 2 staff
    $3 million – $4 million: 1 staff
    $4 million – $5 million: 1 staff

    • Gristle 25.1

      Hi time,

      I am not too sure where you are going with your comment. I think the logic is pay more in salaries means employees pay more in tax, which means more can spent on social welfare, education etc.

      Does this mean that you support the minimum wage to go up because more tax will be paid?

      Alternatively, are you genuinely concerned about the levels of remuneration in Fonterra and your comments about tax are trying make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear?

  26. Eco maori 26

    I hope you did not let Joyce con you

  27. lloyd 27

    What I don’t understand about Fronterra is why everyone working for it isn’t part of the co-op. All the workers should have shares in the firm.
    On the other hand the ratio between the smallest and largest income for worker shareholders should be fixed.
    I am sure such an arrangement would get all the workers looking at added value.
    It would also mean the farmers would get paid more.

  28. Melacon 28

    Since I do not wish to contribute any more of my money to these greedy people, I have decided to boycott their products – Anchor, De Winkel, Fresh ‘n Fruity, Mainland, Mammoth, Perfect Italiano, Piako, Primo, Symbio, and Tip Top. There are alternatives.

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  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
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  • All good, still
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  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
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    2 weeks ago

  • Minister celebrates students’ space success
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    8 hours ago
  • New WorkSafe board appointments to address a history of poor financial management
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    9 hours ago
  • Next phase of the Royal Commission into COVID-19
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    11 hours ago
  • Government introduces Three Strikes Bill
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    11 hours ago
  • New support for agricultural emissions reduction
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    13 hours ago
  • Government actions strengthening Māori success
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    16 hours ago
  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
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    1 day ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
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    2 days ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
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    2 days ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
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  • Government takes action to address youth crime
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  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
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    5 days ago
  • School attendance increases
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    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
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    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
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    6 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
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    6 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
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    6 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
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    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
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    6 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
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    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
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    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
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    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
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    1 week ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
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    1 week ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
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    1 week ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
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    1 week ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
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    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
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    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
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    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
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  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
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    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
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    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
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    2 weeks ago

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