July 22, 2015
Government inaction on dairy crisis threatens regions
Labour leader Andrew Little says the Government isn't being honest with New Zealanders about the extent of the crisis facing the farming sector.
Dairy prices plunged a further 10 percent last week, and the expected income of dairy farmers is expected to be half of last year.
Mr Little says that will be felt throughout the country, as spending falls in rural towns and provincial centres and people start moving away to find work elsewhere.
He says it's not helpful for the Government to pretend it is going to go away quickly.
"One big finance house, Goldman Sachs, last year predicted that the downturn in dairy prices was going to last five years. All the others said no, it will be a year or so. They're all now saying it's going to be longer. So we don't know whether this is going to be another couple of years, another five years, or what it's going to be but you need a government taking the issue seriously and thinking about what steps need to be taken to support and sustain those regional areas," Mr Little.
Maori dairy farmers say they are having to cut costs and defer projects and capital spending, but most aren't carrying high levels of debt of recent entrants to the industry.
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