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The Government needs to shrink their ownership of farms through Landcorp and use them to give young Kiwi farmers the opportunity to lease and ultimately own some of these farms, National Party spokesperson for Agriculture Nathan Guy says.

“The Government owns massive tracts of productive land through Landcorp, 385,503 hectares – or around six times the size of Lake Tāupo, even though there is little public good from Crown ownership.

“Landcorp not only provides a poor financial return to taxpayers but the Governments’ ownership of these farms is keeping Kiwi farmers out of the market.

“The state-owned organisation’s assets are valued at over $1.7 billion across almost 150 farms yet they struggle to return a dividend to the crown. In the last two years there was no dividend paid at all. 

“This proves the Government is not a great farmer and the time is right to give some young farmers lease opportunities. Successful operators could be offered the option to buy them at market rates when they have built up enough equity.

“A handful of farms could remain as lease farms so young farmers can build up equity in livestock which can be used as a deposit to buy their first farm.

“Landcorp is the custodian of land that may be subject to outstanding Treaty settlements. Because the National Government was so efficient at settling claims, it makes sense to ring-fence a small number of farms that may be required in the future and lease out the remainder.

“There is no clear reason for taxpayers to own massive tracts of farmland which is struggling to make a return when highly educated, young and sophisticated farmers will do a better job.

“National had a policy prior to the election to direct Landcorp to lease these farms to young farmers, and give them the opportunity to buy them at market rates when they have built up enough capital – the Government should pursue this policy.”

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