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Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers

News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks as dairy incomes continue to plummet. The Ashburton Guardian has reported the bank as saying it will not tolerate two more years of losses from highly leveraged farmers.

On my recent  visit to Ashburton, I heard of deep concerns about the future for the region . Dairy farmers and sharemilkers who have low equity are feeling very vulnerable.

“John Key’s view that the current dairy price fall will only affect 5 per cent of our economy is just reckless. The fact is that New Zealand is as reliant on dairy as Australia is on iron ore exports.

“Early next month New Zealand’s dairy farmers face another test when Fonterra revises its forecast farmgate milk price. Since Fonterra’s last forecast, wholesale milk prices have fallen by 20 per cent.

“We all know how important dairying is to the rural economy. John Key has to take the gathering storm clouds seriously,” says Grant Robertson.