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Farmers aren’t stupid

A sales pitch pushing the sale of Silver Fern Farms to Shanghai Maling and included in a mail out of voting papers to shareholders will not fool farmers, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

A vote on the offer is being held in the lead-up to a special meeting in Dunedin next week. 

“The glossy document contains all the claimed up sides of the sale, yet fails to warn farmers they could lose control of one of New Zealand's largest cooperatives.

“Farmers aren’t stupid. They understand only too well the need for more objective analysis of the long term consequences of Chinese control of our largest meat company. 

“While the reality is that most of them will be too busy to wade through the PR spin and the voting paper that includes a clear recommendation from the Board to sell, there is a second, far better option.

“And that’s a resolution seeking a comprehensive analysis of the proposal so farmers can better assess the sale. They should vote for that and reject the sale.

“The vested interests of companies who advise on these deals mean they inevitably support control by large international corporations who will continue to use their services in future.

“Meanwhile farmers will be left with livestock in the paddock and forced to take whatever payments a large multinational company might choose to offer them.

“It was just that reality that encouraged farmers to set up their own cooperative companies in the first place, to counter such control.

“They won't be stupid enough to let that happen again,” Damien O’Connor says.