Clarity for Growers Is a Must

Labours latest Cyclone Package announcement was a shambolic mess that personifies the incompetence of its Government, National spokesperson for Horticulture Sam Uffindell says.

‘An official from the Government communicated to growers at the announcement last week that an interest rate of 7% would be applied to growers who took up the loan, this has now been walked back by the Government, who saying this error “did not reflect the intent of the scheme to provide flexibility”’


‘But what exactly does that flexibility look like? At this stage, the Government does not know, with Anna Lorck confirming that “there has been no agreement to specific interest rates.” ‘


‘Worse yet, Minister Kieran McAnulty admitted he does not know if the banks were on board with the scheme, this is particularly alarming given that the onus is on growers to seek loans from their banks, meaning that the entire package the Government has devised is dependent on the banks appetite to lend.’


‘This is endemic of a government that has not cared to listen to its primary sector, it is simply astonishing that even the Hawkes Bay Horticultural Growers Taskforce had not been consulted ahead of the announcement. ‘


‘A package has been needed for months & the industry has worked hard to provide the Government with the relevant info from early march, now in June a package has come, but it has been delivered as an afterthought rather than a concerted effort to fix things. ‘


"National wants to see clarity for our growers, particularly with regard to interest rates & the financial sector. This way our growers can get back to what they do best."