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PM Remains Hands Off on Silver Fern Farms

Fletcher Tabuteau MP

Spokesperson for Trade and Commerce

PM Remains Hands Off Despite Warnings on Foreign Buy-in of Silver Fern Farms

Fears of a takeover of New Zealand’s meat processing following the Chinese buy-in to Silver Fern Farms were ridiculed by the Prime Minister in Parliament today, says New Zealand First.

“Many industry insiders believe Chinese SOE buyer Shanghai Maling will use its financial strength to outbid for livestock, and eventually cripple Kiwi processors,” says Spokesperson for Trade and Commerce Fletcher Tabuteau.

“Shanghai Maling is China’s largest meat processor and is partly owned by Bright Food Group, China’s largest food company. It’s a business owned by the Chinese government so there are very deep pockets.

“The government claims competition will increase. First, it is not another firm entering the market, and second it is simply a buy-out. No additional competition will exist.

“This deal could herald a whole new era for the meat industry, and despite what the PM maintains, will bring little benefit to New Zealand. Sheep and beef producers may get some initial uplift but the end result will be lower prices under a monopoly owned in China. The Australian meat market is an example of how effectively this has been achieved by a foreign company,” says Mr Tabuteau.

“The government claims competition will increase. First, it is not another firm entering the market, and second it is simply a buy-out. No additional competition will exist.

“The government refused to even meet Silver Fern Farms, our biggest beef exporter, when it was seeking investment. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have done nothing for the Kiwi co-operative, because the PM says it is a private company. Nevertheless, he was not bothered about the ownership of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Bank, giving at last count $145 million from the sale of state assets.

“Kiwi meatworkers should note the Prime Minister’s response when asked if Chinese workers at Silver Fern Farms would replace Kiwi workers under the Temporary Employment Entry in the China Free Trade Agreement. Mr Key said it was highly unlikely,” says Mr Tabuteau


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