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Westland Milk elects Morrison new chairman

NZN 2/03/2017 Paul McBeth

Westland Milk Products named Pete Morrison as its new chairman, who wants to help revive the milk processor's fortunes after a poor year.

Morrison was first elected to the board in 2015 and has been a shareholder since the cooperative's creation as an independent company in 2011, supplying milk from farms in Canterbury and the West Coast, the company said in a statement.

He replaces Matt O'Regan, who left the board after seven years in charge.

"It will be the 2017/18 season before we have got our payout back to where shareholders need it to be," Mr Morrison said.

"Shareholders will be rewarded for their patience and ongoing support."

The country's second-biggest dairy cooperative is cutting staff numbers in an effort to trim its wage bill as part of a broader restructure to run the milk processor more efficiently after a high cost structure was seen as weighing on the 2016 farmgate payout.

Mr Morrison backed chief executive Toni Brendish's plan to produce "considerable savings" and said the board is putting in "the right governance structures in place to ensure we have a company with an exciting future."

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