The Prime Minister’s admission that he “doesn’t have a clue” how many farmers will fail as a result of the dairy downturn shows that the Government is in denial about the scale of the threat facing our wider economy, the Green Party said today.
Green Party Co-leader James Shaw asked the Prime Minister several straight questions on the numbers of farmers, small businesses, and rural retailers likely to be impacted by the downturn of the dairy industry and the risks faced by Fonterra and our banks and he couldn’t answer these basic questions.
“The Prime Minister needs better information on the likely scale and extent of the dairy farm downturn if he’s to better manage its effects,” said Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw.
“After the Reserve Bank predicted late last year that up to 44 percent of dairy farmer loans could become non performing and Federated Farmers said two weeks ago that 11 percent of dairy farmers were under pressure by banks, you’d expect the Prime Minister to have a basic grasp on the extent of the threat to the economy.
“The Government’s solution to the dairy downturn seems to be to stay willfully ignorant of how it’s going to impact farmers, businesses, and ordinary New Zealanders.
“It’s not good enough that the Prime Minister doesn’t have answers to basic questions on the dairy downturn.
“You can’t manage what you’re not measuring, and the National Government are clearly not measuring.
“New Zealanders should be able to expect their Government to use all of its resources to soften the wider economy from large economic shocks like low dairy prices.