The 2017 Cooperative Business New Zealand Award Winners are:
Co-operative Business NZ Chief Executive Craig Presland paid tribute to the award recipients:
Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives – Oliver O’Neill, CFO Ruralco
Mr Presland said Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives is a key co-operative principle, including establishing and developing joint supply agreements, lowering costs through joint procurement initiatives, and the sharing of resources and information.
“Oliver is passionate about driving collaboration amongst our members and, last year, delivered cost savings for fellow co-ops across a range of products and services, these including farm fuel, electricity, general farm supplies, Ruralco card deals and the purchase of vehicles.
“His efforts in driving lower electricity prices, for example, involved a great deal of patience and tenacity, as well as expert knowledge of tariffs, peak/off peak rates and varying price points for volume usage.”
Outstanding Co-operative Contribution – Brian Cameron
Ashburton farmer and irrigation pioneer, Brian Cameron was the visionary behind the formation of the NZ Agricultural Cooperatives Association, now known as Cooperative Business NZ, back in 1982.
Craig Presland describes Mr Cameron as “a true legend within New Zealand’s co-operative economy in the modern era.”
“While chairing our fledgling membership organisation for almost two decades, Brian insisted that kiwi co-operatives and mutuals be represented, protected and supported by separate legislation.
“Due in large part to Brian’s leadership and perseverance, extensive legal work was done during the 1990s, culminating in the Cooperative Companies Act 1996. It was an innovative piece of legislation which has generated considerable overseas interest. It has been highly successful with its low compliance costs and commercial focus enabling co-operatives to grow and take a significant and influential place in the economy and wider society.
“In addition, Brian has been the key founder of Irrigation NZ back in 1978. This industry body supports more than 50 separate irrigation schemes and played a pivotal role in the establishment of two large schemes in the Mid Canterbury region. Brian has also served on the board of PPCS (now known as Silver Fern Farms) from 1981-2001, while he was fully involved in the formation of Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-op and Electricity Ashburton Co-op,” Mr Presland says.
Media release from NZ Co-op 11 August 2017. For more information on the awards, winners and finalists, visit www.nz.coop.