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ACT Cautious Support For Dairy Industry Changes

ACT Gives Cautious Support To Dairy Industry Changes

The ACT Party, whose vote will be needed if the Government's Dairy Industry restructuring is to pass, has given cautious support to the first reading of the Bill.

ACT's Rural Spokesman Owen Jennings will also hold the balance of power on the Select Committee that considers the Bill.

"ACT has been approached by the directors of the three merging dairy coops and the Dairy Board and we have been asked to support the Bill," said Owen Jennings.

"What is being proposed is the biggest change in the industry's history. We are sceptical as to whether the proposal has the farmers' support that the Bill's promoters claim.

"ACT has given an undertaking to farmers that the Select Committee considering the Bill will hold full hearings giving an opportunity for all the issues to be examined.

"Dairy farmers have had a guts full of office wallahs sitting in Wellington deciding their fate without ever setting foot in a cow shed. The sole reason for changing the structure of the industry is to get improved profits for farmers, their submissions and ideas are absolutely crucial to getting it right.

"Farmers are concerned at the speed with which Government and Dairy Industry leaders are working towards the mega-merger. Their anxiety will not be eased by the legislation being introduced under urgency. It is vital that industry leaders and Government Ministers get out of their air-conditioned offices in Wellington and into the cowsheds to consult with farmers.

"Dairying is one of our most important export industries and it is vital that we get this right first time. Farmers livelihoods are at stake throughout these changes and there is no room for bungles in this reform.

"ACT is keen to ensure that issues like fair value of shares, adequate protection of farmers ownership rights and the commercial logic of the proposal are carefully examined.


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