Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industry
New Zealand First is delighted that Cabinet has approved a debt mediation scheme that will help farmers in financial distress deal with their lenders.
Last year, New Zealand First Primary Industries Spokesperson Mark Patterson introduced a Member’s bill to Parliament to introduce a mediation step before the appointment of a receiver in respect of agricultural debt. The Bill has now been adopted by the Government, reflecting the Coalition Agreement commitment to take a look at solutions to agricultural debt problems.
“This Bill will provide an opportunity for farmers and lenders to pursue solutions through mediation during tough times. The farm business also serves as the family home and any forced foreclosure is devastating to regional communities,” says Mr Patterson.
“The Bill also addresses the inherent power imbalance typical of these relationships and it’s heartening to see that Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Bankers Association support this Bill,” says Mr Patterson.
New Zealand First introduced this type of legislation to Parliament first in 1999, and then again in 2015 and 2018.
“When we first introduced this type of legislation in 1999, farm debt was at $11.7 billion. Today, that number is $62.8 billion. After trying for 20 years we finally have a government willing to take decisive action.” says Mr Patterson.
This Bill is another example of New Zealand First’s resolute support for the regions and our nation’s farmers.