Here is Bruce Wills of Federated Farmers commenting on the prospect that New Zealand dairy farms are going to be sold to offshore interests:
Bruce Wills, who heads the lobby group's meat and fibre division, agrees the stance is purely pragmatic. But it is also necessary, he insists, if farming is to have a future. A former banker and valuer, he notes that debt has more than doubled in the agricultural sector over the past seven years to around $47 billion.
Wills agrees the Chinese seem to be taking a long-term view of the value of New Zealand farmland, given their concerns about feeding their own population. Although Fonterra is doing its best to capitalise on the same trend, most Kiwi farmers simply can't afford to take a similar long-term view, he says.
While a few dairy farmers are indeed creaming it, most are still deeply mired in debt, says Wills.