Fonterra suppliers angry at being made to wait 90 days for payment

A war of words has erupted between Fonterra and some of its suppliers.

Suppliers to New Zealand's biggest company say they've been asked to wait 90 days to be paid, but Fonterra's money man denies the claim.

Dave Strong operates Morrinsville Plumbing and Gas, which supply the dairy giant.

He said he was sent a letter requesting he wait up to 90 days for payment.

"Pretty crappy actually, I mean we've a long term relationship," he said.

However, what is confusing many suppliers is what Fonterra's chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini said on television this morning.

"We have not done 90 days, there's no such thing as 90 days term," he told the Paul Henry show.

"[The letter] says 61 days following the end of the month in which the invoice is dated and so if the invoice is saying the first of the month, then it's 61 days past the end of that month so it's 90 days – it's pretty simple maths," Mr Strong said.

Fonterra said in a statement there is no 90 day payment term, but admit it is possible for suppliers to wait up to 90 days.

The company stressed only 12 per cent of suppliers have been asked to make changes.

Federated Farmers said Fonterra should be communicating better, while Mr Stong refused the deal offered to him and forced the company to relent.

Suppliers to NZ's biggest company say they have been asked to wait 90 days to be paid. Source: 1 NEWS


As Australia's strawberry scare expands to apples and bananas, police offer big reward hoping for clues

Almost two weeks after a Queensland man was taken to hospital after biting into a strawberry with a sewing needle inside, the hunt for those responsible goes on.

The contamination has spread nationwide, with West Australian police confirming on yesterday that they were investigating claims a primary school student had bitten into a strawberry with a needle inside.

Starting this morning, all fresh strawberries being exported from Australia must be metal-contaminant free.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced the interim control measure yesterday evening in response to the growing situation.

"In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, exporters will be required to provide assurance to the department that their consignment is free from metal contaminants," the department said in a statement.

The family of one grower has shared the heartbreak of having to dump truckloads of strawberries. Source: Donnybrook Berries/Facebook

"These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday's report was the fifth incident of needle-contaminated strawberries in WA.

The latest incident has led to the WA government following the Queensland government in offering a NZ $110,000 reward for information on the culprit or culprits.

"The motive appears unclear ... at the end of the day it's an act of treachery to the people of Australia," Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty told reporters, confirming NSW police were investigating at least 20 cases of needles being found in fruit including claims of needles being found in an apple and a banana.

The halt comes after needles were found in different brands in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

Det Supt Doherty said perpetrators, including copycats and consumers falsely claiming a discovery, could face up to 10 years in jail for food contamination.

No-one has been charged in relation to the tampering.

In Queensland, struggling growers have been boosted by the announcement of a NZ $1.1 million fund to assist them through the crisis.

Horticulture body Growcom has implored consumers to keep buying strawberries.

"Hang in there with us and our saying will be 'cut it up, don't cut us out'," Growcom chief executive David Thomson said.

The scare is expected to result in a review of fruit handling, storage and packaging following the police investigations, Mr Thomson said.

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast

Farmers fear summer El Nino drought as Spring rains wipe out lamb stocks

Farmers across the North Island counting the cost of a wild start to spring, with thousands of lambs lost due to heavy rain, may soon have another problem to contend with.

Their attention has turned to the coming summer, with those on the East Coast concerned a predicted El Nino weather pattern could bring drought, turning the green hills bone dry.

"It's a matter of making decisions early and keeping an eye on it, a drought normally happens slowly, and you've got some time to get used adapt to it," Federated Farmers Jim Galloway says.

The warning comes as some Hawke's Bay farmers have reported losing nearly 30 per cent of their flocks due to recent heavy unseasonal rain.

Farmer Ben Crosse told 1 NEWS that he lost around 750 of his new-borns.

"New-born lambs are very vulnerable, particularly in the young ewes who are having their first lamb and are a bit more hesitant.

"The lamb birth weight's lighter, so it takes the first-born lamb a wee while to get a drink, and they sometimes can't get going in the rain," Mr Crosse said.

After a wet start, it could be a long hot summer ahead for many New Zealand lambs.

Some Hawke’s Bay farmers have reported losing nearly 30 per cent of their flock. Source: 1 NEWS


Eight cattle die after 1080 drop in Waikato as DOC work to increase numbers of endangered kokāko

Eight cattle have died in the Waikato following a 1080 drop there.

1 NEWS has been provided with video from a concerned local showing a dead cow lying in the 1080 drop zone.

The Department of Conservation said it appears the cattle escaped their paddock through a broken fence line, wandering into the Mapara Wildlife Reserve where the poison was dropped.

"We have been working closely with the landowner concerned to confirm exactly what happened, and also to support them as any good neighbour would under these circumstances with the burial of the animals and feed for the others," DOC Operations Director David Speirs said.

Officials emphasised that the area is "one of their most important strongholds for kōkako (an endangered native bird) on mainland New Zealand" due to 30 years of pest control in the area, including the controversial 1080 programme.

The latest drop, focusing on the eradication of rates, possums and stoats, took place 6 September.

The cattle had been spotted in the drop zone during a pre-flight two weeks earlier, and the farmer who owned the animals was advised, officials said.

"No stock should ever be allowed within the pest control operational area," DOC said in a statement.

Department of Conservation staff say in the past month they've had their car tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened. Source: 1 NEWS

The animal deaths come at an especially sensitive time for the Department of Conservation, as anti-1080 activists step up protests.

The government agency has suggested many of the protestors have been influenced by fake news and misrepresented photos on social media.

With the increased publicity has come a torrent of online threats an abuse of workers, DOC threatened species ambassador Nicola Toki told RNZ yesterday.

The Department of Conservation says eight cows that died in the Waikato wandered off their paddock and into the drop zone.

Spring storm hits North Island lamb numbers with more than 100,000 thought to have died

Over 100,000 lambs are thought to have died in the spring storm which hit central and eastern parts of the North Island earlier this month.

Heavy rainfall and strong south-easterly gales blasted Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay unrelentingly in the first week of September.

A senior analyst at AgriHQ, Mel Croad, said the conditions had made for a tough environment for new born lambs.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time for sheep farmers, with many right in the swing of lambing. Individual farmers are counting losses in the hundreds, and some the thousands," Ms Croad said.

Some farmers had reported their losses may account for 20 percent of their lamb crop, a devastating blow to farm incomes and farmer morale, she said.

"Total lambing losses across the island are expected to be over 100,000 head. This is going to result in a significant dent in the 2018 lamb crop tally, in a season when the lamb crop was already estimated by industry to be the lowest on record," Ms Croad said.

Ms Croad said about 23 million lambs were born last spring, but she did not expect that to be matched this year.

But Beef and Lamb chief economist Andrew Burtt said while the losses were very difficult for the farmers affected, he did not think it would have much of an impact to the lamb tally on a national scale.

"There might be a few hundred thousand ewes having their lambs that week affected by it [the weather] but out of 27 million sheep in total and 17-18 million ewes it's not that significant... on the other hand, if it's on your property it could severely impact your income," Mr Burtt said.

"If you're there and you've suffered, I don't know, 30-40 percent losses of your lambs then it's devastating for you individually," he said.

By Maja Burry

Ewe and her lamb (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS