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Landcorp Farming name 'too 80s'

NZN 16/02/2017 Tina Morrison

State-owned enterprise Landcorp Farming, which is trying to move its business away from mass commodities and into higher value branded contracts, should change its name to reflect its new identity, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene told the company at parliament's Primary Production select committee.

As part of a strategy to better connect with its customers, Landcorp has launched the Pamu brand, meaning "to farm" in Maori.

Chief executive Steven Carden, who joined three years ago, wants to shift Landcorp's focus away from being a volume-based supplier of agricultural commodities towards developing more valuable, specialised contracts.

"I like the brand Pamu," Mr Tirikatene told Landcorp representatives appearing before the committee, including chairwoman Traci Houpapa, Mr Carden and chief financial officer Steve McJorrow.

"But I'm surprised. Why didn't you use the opportunity to do something bold and rename Landcorp 'Pamu' or really embrace that brand. It just seems like this is a real '80s name, Landcorp. It's just got a very old fashioned name ... you are about 30 years old. Why didn't you use the opportunity to really drive the transformation through the business and say let's give ourselves a new name, and let's really do something new and bold?"

In response, Ms Houpapa acknowledged that the company was at a "change point" in its history, and it would take "a little while" to turn around its 30-year history of farming.

"We agree with you that a change of name would also indicate strongly a change of nature and focus," she said.

Landcorp was created out of the Department of Lands and Survey in 1987 and its latest annual report for the year ended June 30, 2016, showed it farmed 144 properties.

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