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Tweets trump government interest in Westland Milk

The government's silence on the fact that the country's second-largest milk processor is on the brink of becoming 25% Chinese Government owned has been deafening.

It has had much more to say about US President Donald Trump's most recent tweet than it has about the whole of the Westland Milk situation.

Its silence is a clear statement that it would rather have overseas governments owning a key slice of New Zealand agriculture and residential land than take a stand, as the real Labour government of the 1930's did, and act in the best interests of New Zealanders.

That 1935 Labour government, backed by the Social Credit movement, passed an act that provided for the dairy industry and other producer boards to access a 1% overdraft at the country's central bank, the Reserve Bank.

This government, by doing nothing over the potential Westland Milk sale, has allowed the Central Bank of China to fund the purchase of a strategic stake in the New Zealand's dairy industry on behalf of the Chinese government.

It has ensured that the Chinese company will be able to establish a vertically integrated ownership of the supply chain, from the grass in New Zealand to the table in China and clip the ticket at every stage, with the profits being shipped off overseas along with the product.

Our government could have provided the funding needed by the cooperative and its shareholder farmers through the Reserve Bank at no cost to the taxpayer and without additional borrowing.

Such a scheme would be a win-win for all the New Zealand parties involved, and the country, and would ensure that New Zealand's dairy processing was retained in New Zealand hands.

Labour's iconic prime minister, Michael Joseph Savage, would be hiding his head in shame at the inaction of a supposedly Labour government.


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