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Westland Milk Products resumes collection at Gloriavale after court injunction

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Other,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 11:01am
Westland Milk Products has resumed milk collection from Gloriavale's Lake Haupiri farms. Photo / George Heard
Westland Milk Products has resumed milk collection from Gloriavale's Lake Haupiri farms. Photo / George Heard

Westland Milk Products resumes collection at Gloriavale after court injunction

Author
Other,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 11:01am

Westland Milk Products has resumed milk collection from Gloriavale's Lake Haupiri farms, after the Christian community was granted an interim court injunction to prevent the dairy company from withdrawing.

Canaan Farming Ltd says it has received "role model" status in past audits from Westland Milk.

Chinese-owned Westland announced last Thursday it was stopping milk collection from Gloriavale-owned farms from this Monday, in the wake of the Employment Court ruling about work conditions and alleged child labour.

Canaan is one of Westland's biggest milk suppliers, sending about 900,000kg of milk solids a season to the Hokitika dairy factory. Based on next season's average opening forecast of $9 a kilo, this would mean a $9 million loss of income annually for the Gloriavale Christian Community.

Canaan currently has 430 cows providing winter milk, with a further 1500 cows due to calve next month.

Director Samual Valor said significant animal welfare and environmental issues would arise as a result of Westland's decision to cease milk for an indefinite period.

"Canaan Farming has participated in Westland Milk Products' Farm Excellence ('Farm Ex') quality assurance independent audits for several years, and has been given a 'role model' or 'fully compliant' status in virtually every category.

"Our farms are run to very high standards, and comply with all relevant legislation, as confirmed by the Farm Ex programme."

No children worked on the Canaan farms, Valor said, though they may occasionally feed the calves.

Canaan Farming was committed to the highest standards of farming, supporting its workers and their families, and providing top-quality milk from its farms.

"We are committed to being transparent with our business partners and constructively resolving any concerns or issues they may have."

Westland Milk said the injunction, filed in the High Court at Greymouth, asked the court to compel the company to honour the terms of its milk collection contracts with Canaan, specifically to require it to continue to collect milk from its three farms.

"Both parties have agreed that Westland will continue to collect Canaan's milk until the court has determined Canaan's application for an interim injunction," a spokeswoman said.

- Greymouth Star