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Farmers have every reason to be concerned by the National Government’s unseemly haste to push through the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, Labour’s Party Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says
“Labour raised a number of concerns in the lead up to this legislation’s development. Those fears have not been allayed with its introduction.
“We want an assurance that the bill, if passed, will allow both the shares and the benefits of Fonterra to remain in New Zealand hands. In its current form it doesn’t do that,” Damien O’Connor said.
“To counter that Labour plans to seek changes that will prevent unlimited units being sold to outside investors without recourse to Parliament. Fonterra shares should not be traded on the stock market in future without genuine farmer approval.
“Labour believes keeping productive land and companies in Kiwi hands is vital to growing the economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
“The National Party agenda of selling our assets and farmland to the highest bidder may very well lead to the demutualisation of New Zealand’s biggest co-operative, Fonterra, through the changes in the bill introduced yesterday,” Damien O’Connor said.
He said Labour would attempt to address several other key areas that needed more work through the select committee process.
“Unfortunately a deal between National and Fonterra means that process will go ahead in a truncated form. It also means farmers and others will have less time to make submissions to the select committee.”