Lack of alternatives sees farmers back sell-out

A lack of alternatives and confusing information given to farmer shareholders is the only reasonable excuse for Silver Fern Farmer shareholders to support a sell-out of their co-operative, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“The desperate way the Board presented this as the only bankable option has no doubt led farmers to believe they had no option, despite attempts by Kiwi stakeholders to table a viable alternative.

“I acknowledge the astute way the Chinese company has taken over Silver Fern Farms. The hope now is they use that cunning to improve returns to the farmer suppliers.

“However, there is no economic incentive for the new owners to pay any more than they have to for livestock that will be controlled all the way to retail customers. 

“It is deeply disappointing the Board didn’t have the courage to work harder on a New Zealand-based solution.

“This vote hands control of a New Zealand owned cooperative to a Chinese company with no guarantee of any benefits in the short, medium or long term.

“New Zealand farmers now face a decreasing number of opportunities to produce, process and brand what should be New Zealand’s proudest and most productive sector,” Damien O’Connor says.