Guarded support for scheme

Nathan Guy.
Nathan Guy.
Federated Farmers supports the sale of farms  now  operated by Landcorp to young farming families but has some concerns about National’s plans for the sale.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said yesterday a National government would help young families into their first farms by allowing young farmers to buy the state-owned farms after they had worked the land for five to 10 years.

The Government owned a large number of commercial farms through Landcorp but there was no clear public good coming from Crown ownership and little financial return to farmers.

National would direct Landcorp to lease the farms to young farmers and give them the opportunity to buy them at market rates  when they had built up enough capital.

Many farming families got their start through the old Land and Survey ballot process and National wanted to give the opportunity to more New Zealanders, he said.

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne encouraged the Government to maintain its determination to sell the farms at market value.

"This is not charity or a gift.  This should be a business solution to help young farmer families."

The sale process requiring prospective purchasers to work the land as a lessee for at least five years before they could buy would help prove a young farming family was genuine about building a farming business, and working on the land long-term.

"We will watch with interest to see how this process unfolds, as Landcorp has become a complex business and unpicking it will not happen quickly," she said.

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