Government mismanagment threatens "double disaster"

The Government must rule out mass sales of New Zealand rural land to overseas buyers if it’s to avoid a double disaster as the dairying slump forces farmers to the wall, the Green Party says.

Finance Minister Bill English this morning admitted the dairy industry is in an extreme scenario yet he had no solution to offer farmers other than that he hoped they’d “get through”.

“New Zealand is facing the prospect of a double disaster as the dairying slump flows through to the rest of the economy, and the Government’s lax overseas land sales rules risk large tracts of productive land being sold off overseas,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“National’s dairy strategy has become a personal disaster for farming families whose finances are at breaking point, and will be a long term disaster for the whole country if it leads to farms being sold to overseas buyers.

“The Government must take responsibility for the economic disaster it has caused by encouraging farmers to convert to dairying and increase their debt. Bill English should today rule out the sale of productive land overseas, and offer distressed farmers a practical way forward.

“The signing of the TPPA recently only makes the threat of mass land sales overseas worse, as the Government effectively welcomed overseas interests to buy up New Zealand land under the deal.

“It would be a double disaster to New Zealand, if as a result of the Government’s mismanagement of the dairying disaster, the economy tanks and large chunks of our precious land is sold off overseas,” Mrs Turei said.

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