The sale of half of Silver Fern Farms to a subsidiary of China’s Bright Foods is a result of National’s failure to reform the red meat industry despite years of decline, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“National had seven years to consider various proposals to reform the red meat sector to be more productive and competitive overseas. They’ve done nothing, standing by while the industry became less profitable and productive.
“The biggest concern about the Silver Fern sale is that much of the production chain for red meat is going into offshore hands, along with the profits. New Zealand is missing out, and with the current overseas investment rules there is no guarantee that this will be the kind of foreign investment that is good for our country.
“There must be a clear plan for the use of that investment to improve plant, boost productivity and create opportunities for New Zealand workers. This would mean changing criteria in the Overseas Investment Act and giving the Overseas Investment Office the resources to investigate whether commitments made by foreign investors are being met.
“Our red meat sector should be able to stand on its own two feet, without the need for foreign capital if it’s structured properly. National’s neglect of the regions has left one of our biggest industries facing uncertainty,” Grant Robertson says.