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Sharemilkers cast adrift by National Government

John Wright MP Sat Sep 4 1999

John Wright
MP Sharemilkers who produce 42% of New Zealand's milk have been betrayed by the National led government and Act, said Alliance spokesperson

Today the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill was passed in parliament.

'This Bill is in effect a pay cut for sharemilkers.

'It means that sharemilkers will have to take a cut of 20% in their incomes.

'Act had promised support for the sharemilkers, but when it came to the crunch, betrayed them in favour of their National party buddies.'

Sharemilkes had asked Act to move an amendment which would have given them a chance to re-negotiate their contracts so that precious incomes would not be lost.

'This is a bad day for the dairy industry. Mrs Shipley's Government has now given the green light to overseas companies that it won't be long before they can get their hands on the treasure chest of New Zealand's dairy industry.

'For sharemilkers the day is particularly bad. The Bill 'unbundles' the incomes of all dairy farmers. Now, because of the way their contracts were written sharemilkers will only receive 50% of the commodity price of milk.

'Previously they also shared in the income derived from milk trading by the dairy board and the income from investments by the dairy industry as a whole.

'In effect there was usually a 50-50 split of any income. Now sharemilkers will only get half of one element of this income stream, which will mean a 20% cut in their total income.

'Sharemilkers are usually the young go-getters of the industry. They are the future. Or at least they were. Now they will be struggling to survive from season to season.

'The sad thing is that the banks are now going to look twice at financing sharemilkers into the industry in the future, and will be forced to reduce the provision of seasonal finance for existing sharemilkers.

'I predict that National will pay the price heavily at the polls for this mistake,' said John Wright.

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