13 Oct 2015

SFF sell-off deeply concerning, says industry advisor

10:19 am on 13 October 2015

Meat Industry Excellence advisor Ross Hyland says Maori should be deeply concerned at the sell-off of the New Zealand re dmeat industry to the Chinese.

Silver Fern Farms shareholders are currently voting on whether the co-operative should enter a joint venture with Shanghai Maling.

Mr Hyland said Maori, of all people, should know that once you give away or let go of your assets it's extremely hard to ever get them back.

"Bear in mind 80 percent of ANZCO is now Japanese owned, you've got all the Prime range, you've got 50 percent of Blue Sky, United Beef Packers, Lean Meats, Taranaki Abattoir all now in full or partial Japanese or Chinese control.

"If we lose Silver Fern Farms, there's over 50 percent of your industry gone into foreign control with all of them scrambling to demonstrate some kind of New Zealand story. And I just struggle with that."

He wondered whether there could be a case for the Tribunal to step in.

"That they would be able to build any legitimacy around provenance, and I think the provenance story needs to be retained in New Zealand.

"A cornerstone to that provenance story is the Maori story. Maori need to be involved around the decision making process and so hence that's my concern: losing Silver Fern loses a big chunk, and it's a big chunk they will be very hard to ever get back."

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