Westland Milk's decision to sell to Chinese company Yili may get the nod of farmer shareholders but politicians aren’t happy.
Questions are also being posed about the Government’s $10 million soft loan to Westland Milk.
Yili will pay $588 million for dairy co-op Westland Milk, it was announced overnight.
Late last year, Westland Milk secured a $9.9 million loan from the Government to help build a new plant in Hokitika as part of the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. Some farmers and politicians considered the loan to be using taxpayers as a bank.
It was revealed this month that the Treasury argued against the Government loan. One reason being that the dairy co-op was having problems obtaining a loan from its bank on acceptable terms and the Government would then be acting as a lender of last resort.
On Twitter the reaction to a co-op being sold off to a foreign company is being questioned.
Megan Hands described the Westland-Yili deal as awkward.
Well this is a bit awkward given Shane Jones just gave Westland a taxpayer funded loan... https://t.co/t3zoPS84Xd— Megan Hands (@HandsMegan) March 18, 2019
On Facebook, Allen Collinson asked, "So what happens to the 10mill of tax payers money Shane Jones gave them??"
Dairy farmer Alexander Rentoul said he hoped the loan would be paid back with interest.
Another dairy farmer, Matthew Herbert, noted that the guaranteed minimum payout matching Fonterra could be a drawcard for Westland suppliers, who he says have often been paid 50c to a dollar less per kgMS than if they supplied Fonterra.