Tuesday, 19 March 2019 09:59

Shock on social media at Westland sale

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The proposed sale of Westland Milk to Chinese company Yili is causing alarm among social media users.

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.

Update: Click here to read the Government's response to the announcement and how they have called off negotiations for the loan.

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.

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.


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