Stress test shows banks have room to support farmers

The Reserve Bank’s stress test of the banks’ dairy assets shows they would be able to withstand the most extreme financial scenario, showing they have the ability to provide support and commitment to farmers, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“The dairy downturn is having a huge impact on businesses and the regions and is flowing on to the rest of the economy. The last thing New Zealand wants is farmers being forced off the land and farms sold offshore.

“Banks have been with the farmers in the boom times. The Reserve Bank’s report shows they can stand by them in the bad times.

“National has done nothing but make excuses for banks, instead of ensuring they stick by farmers. This report shows that banks have the room to be flexible and stand by good, efficient farmers.

“The Government should call a summit of banks, ministers, Federated Farmers and Fonterra to develop solutions to keep good, efficient farms in business and productive land in New Zealand’s hands.

“But National won’t do it. They shouldn’t stand by and let farmers go to the wall if banks have the capability to handle even the most unlikely and extreme downturn.

“John Key needs to stand up for New Zealanders by telling the banks now is the time to give something back to the industry and to New Zealand.

“Those who have profited during dairy’s good times must now come to the table to work through a long-term solution. That should start with passing on interest rate cuts and doing everything possible to keep Kiwi farmers on their land,” Andrew Little says.