Kiwi co-operatives have been celebrating success at the Cooperative Business New Zealand annual awards. Six awards were presented in recognition of outstanding governance, leadership and enduring service across the co-operative sector.
Cooperative Business NZ is the country’s apex body for co-ops, which works to promote, encourage and support the sector. In New Zealand, co-operatives employ more than 43,000 people, generate over NZ$43bn a year for the economy (nearly 15% of GDP) and account for more than one-third of all exports.
“Co-operatives are the business model that have stood the test of time,” said Bill English, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance, speaking at the awards dinner.
“Organisations such as [co-operatives] have the people, structure and culture that stand the test of time. It is this positive, long-term view that delivers long-term economic success.”
Mr English is himself a member of five Kiwi co-ops, and was addressing an audience comprising the leaders of co-operatives, including dairy giant Fonterra which can trace its co-op origins back to 1871 on the Otago peninsula.
Fonterra, along with Farmlands and FMG, were among the big winners at the awards, which were held on 10 August at Wellington’s Basin Reserve. Entries were judged by Cooperative Business NZ directors. Chair Jonathan Lee said the winners “demonstrated all that was good about the co-operative business model”.
“This year’s nominees and recipients were all of an exceptional calibre, with the winners really demonstrating the positive influence the co-operative business model has for its members, staff and local communities they operate in,” said Mr Lee
The winners of the 2016 Cooperative Business NZ awards were:
- Co-operative Leader of the Year – Mark McHardy, GM Farmlands Fuel
- Co-operative Business of the Year – Farmers Mutual Group (FMG)
- Outstanding Co-operative Contribution – Phil McKendry, Chairman Ashburton Trading Society (ATS)
- Enduring Service Award – Fonterra (100+ Years category), established 1871
- Enduring Service Award – Foodfirst (25+ years category), established 1987; and
- Enduring Service Award – ITM (25+ years category), established 1991.
Co-operative Business NZ chief executive, Craig Presland, paid tribute to the award recipients. He said Mark McHardy was the standout nominee for the Co-operative Leader of the Year award which recognised an individual who has shown significant co-operative leadership. He added that the winner of the inaugural Co-operative Business of the Year award, Farmers Mutual Group (FMG), led the way in making a significant and positive impact within the co-operative community.
Speaking about the winner of the Outstanding Co-operative Contribution award, Mr Presland said: “When I met Phil McKendry he explained to me why he is driven to lead a rural co-op that, since 1963, has worked hard to lower the cost of farm suppliers, fertiliser, fuel and electricity within the Mid-Canterbury region. His reasoning was simply: ‘Because everyone deserves it’.”
In his first CEO report since his appointment in May, Mr Presland reiterated how co-operative businesses remain strong over the long term.
“I have not heard of many established co-operatives in NZ closing their doors over the years, and decades, due to them becoming commercially unviable,” he said.
“What we must now do is advocate more strongly, [..] grow our membership base and raise our level of funding so that we are able to provide our services even more effectively.”
In this article
- Ashburton Trading Society
- Bill English
- Cooperative Business New Zealand
- Cooperative Business NZ
- Craig Presland
- Farmers Mutual Group
- Farmlands Fuel Co-operative Business
- Jonathan Lee
- Mark McHardy
- New Zealand
- Otago peninsula
- Phil McKendry
- New Zealand
- North America