All options need to be put on meat sector table

Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has to be moved forward.  Farmers who own and supply the two major cooperative companies need confidence that these enterprises are viable, profitable and acting in the farmers’ best interests.

“Labour policy has always been about stepping up and providing the necessary leadership to help broker the best deal for the success of the meat sector and all its farmer stakeholders.

“In this case we would have no hesitation in doing so again if it was not guaranteed every possible option was being explored.

“Rural New Zealand depends on the viability of the meat industry – as a major exporter it plays a big part in the ongoing productivity of wider New Zealand. 

“While we have asked for an update from both Alliance and Silver Fern Farms to better understand the challenges facing the sector, we believe the proposal developed by the Meat Industry Excellence group to consolidate the sector makes a lot of sense,” Damien O’Connor says.