New Zealand Labour Party

Big profiting banks need to back off farmers

With dairy prices forecast to take another hit tomorrow, banks shouldn’t be too eager to put the screws on farmers, Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson, David Shearer says.

“Bank profits for the four Australian owned banks – ANZ, Westpac, BNZ and ASB – hit $4.4 billion after tax last year, double the profits they made 10 years ago

“That’s a before tax profit of $1,354 for every man, woman and child in New Zealand.

“No other sector has been able to make that sort of return. It’s only right that banks should trim their profits now to allow our farmers to ride out the dip resulting from falling international dairy prices.

“While it’s encouraging that the banks are signalling some support for our farmers, they have never shied away from encouraging farmers to increase their borrowing and invest in their holdings to take advantage of increasing dairy prices.

“With prices now on the way down these banks should share the pain rather than expect farming families to take all the hits.

“Foreclosing on mortgages will lower the cost of farms, force faming families off the land and mean others end up in negative equity.

“That will be a boon to overseas investors buying up Kiwi land as more farm sales come on to the market.

“It’s time for the banks to share the pain and trim their record profits,” David Shearer says.