National showed in the House today that they have learned nothing from the dairy price collapse and are failing to take reasonable steps to turn a crisis into an opportunity, the Green Party said today.
“Bill English showed he’s taking no new initiative in response to collapsing dairy prices in response to questions in the House today,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“National continue to downplay the impact a $7 billion hole would leave on the economy, the effects it will have on those who work in the dairy sector, or the opportunities the crisis presents to change the way we export low value commodities.
“Bill English will not revisit the Government’s plans to spend up to $160 million on irrigation subsidies that support a high-cost dairying model. This money would be much better invested in capturing more of the dairy value chain.
“Finally, if National’s going to put all its eggs into one basket, it better have good intelligence on what’s happening to global demand and supply drivers.
“Our Minister of Finance should be taking prudent steps to investigate the record fall in dairy prices to ensure we’re not witnessing a structural long-term change to the global market place. He’s not doing that.”
English said in Question Time today that international dairy prices had to rise as they’re currently below the cost of production in New Zealand.
“I’m not sure the rest of the world actually cares that dairy farmers in New Zealand are all taking a bath at these low prices,” said Mr Shaw.
“It’s time to use this crisis as an opportunity to revisit the way our dairy sector operates and work with it to move it to a more resilient, sustainable, and ultimately more profitable footing.”