15 Mar 2016

Govt needs to talk to banks about dairy - Labour

10:29 am on 15 March 2016

The government needs to put pressure on banks to prevent a large number of dairy farmers from losing their land, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

Andrew Little during caucus run 1.03.16

Labour leader Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

With Fonterra slashing its forecast milk price to $3.90 per kilogram of milk solids last week, it has been estimated up to one dairy farmer in four is in trouble.

Finance Minister Bill English has ruled out extending any financial lifeline to dairy farmers.

Mr Little said the government needed to provide banks with conditions to follow before they forced farmers off their land.

"The government should be around the table with the banks saying we don't want wholesale removal of good farmers off our land, we don't want land prices to collapse and New Zealand land [to] become prey to overseas interests.

"Therefore the government has a stake in making sure the banks conduct themselves reasonably and responsibly."

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